PiggyCoin Roadtest: Teaching Your Kids About Crypto.

piggycoin

This week I’ve been roadtesting a new cryptocurrency called PiggyCoin, a walled garden approach to teaching kids about cryptocurrency use.

I had originally had difficulty with the zip download for windows, but the good folks from their twitter account (@piggycoin) sorted me out with an alternate download. Their twitter is worth adding since they announce things like updates and are pretty active in general.

It is a two part system: a wallet to download (windows, mac or linux) and the website. As long as you have your wallet address written down exactly, kids could theoretically earn coins from anywhere. It is even easier at home:  one click to copy the address directly will get it right each time.

I sat beside my son so he could see what I was doing. The colourful site drew his attention. No easy task as he was busy watching t.v. and playing a game on my phone simultaneously. I tried to lure him in with an initial description on how he could earn money by answering a question. “You earn it in special coins,” I said, “Piggycoins!”

The word coin got him – he’s always looking to earn a coin or two for doing jobs. We had a go at the Piggy Facts question. Interestingly they use a picture based captcha which I really liked. It’s easier for the kiddo to correctly adjust a picture rather than the traditional text based captcha.

This turned into a trip to wikipedia to explain what a captcha is leading to a very philosophical discussion with the boy about the differences between people and robots. Turns out people have hearts! At this point a pop up told us that his 15 piggycoins had been deposited. He was delighted.

Then we tried the other item on the games page: a flappy bird clone, Flying Piggy. I lost my laptop at this point. Kiddo was totally sold on it, being a big flappy birds fan. We both remain scoreless though, so settle in -it’s addictive and hard!

I think a lot of parents are wanting their kids to grow up using computers in a way that is effortless. As such, schools are including things like word processing, digital photography and programming. One thing that we aren’t seeing taught is digital currency. Too often the first time kids get to know about digital money is  because they’ve bought a lot of in-game stuff from apps and they get a stern talking to about how it costs real money.

Cryptocurrency is going to be out there in their future, so I want them to understand how to use it and know intrinsically that it is real money, just made spendable online. Getting the point across that ‘intangible doesn’t mean imaginary’ doesn’t have to be the result of a mistake or a punishment situation. It can be a positive, fun experience. PiggyCoin neatly facilitates this in a way that is very easy to use, with a website that offers plenty of help and activities.

The site has a spending page which is currently under construction. I can’t wait to show my son how easy it can be to spend the money he’s earnt, but for now it’s a lesson in saving. F.Y.I. Piggycoin is also listed on poloniexswisscextcx.lanxt-eBTC-CC and coin-swap exchanges so parents can buy more PIG to reward chores or deposit pocket money into their kid’s wallet.

Overall I was very impressed with PiggyCoin. It really hit the mark in terms of being an educational and fun activity to teach kids about the use of cryptocurrency. It is still very new though, so the interesting thing will be seeing what other games are added and what will be on sale in the shop.

A lesson out of Argentina

This response to a question about bitcoin has been making the rounds, demonstrating an interesting perspective on the usefulness of bitcoin.

As the dollar value of bitcoin continues it’s current downward trend, it’s important to remember that the true value of cryptocurrencies comes not from the US$ gains of speculation but in the goal of providing an accessible means to transfer money regardless of where you are located.

Sick! Or how being housebound made me keen for the future.

Everyone is sick at the moment. Baby has recovered from his mild fever already (the benefits of still feeding) but the eldest has had a bad outbreak of impetigo and I have been feverish and weak all day. We got the eldest to the doctors for a round of oral antibiotics and between the cost of actually seeing  the doc and the cost of medicine, the bank account was cleared out. It occurred to me, as I sweated and moaned on the lounge, that if the supermarkets accepted bitcoin I could have had groceries ordered in.

That’s the thing about being house bound, for whatever reason, you suddenly realise how limiting traditional payment methods can be. With a nil balance on my debit account, the only other option for at-home spending was the credit card. Costly interest rates have made that my absolute last resort. In the end I got up and spent cash in-store, but I can tell you now I would have preferred to stay in my cocoon and pay online to have someone else deliver.

Every day it seems we get news of a new retailer accepting bitcoin. I look forward to the future when online payments are not controlled exclusively by credit cards and paypal. Greater choice in payment methods only benefits the consumer. Less choice only benefits Amex and co.

Bitcoin: the starting point.

The first coin on the scene was Bitcoin in 2009.

Bitcoin has experienced a few big waves and crashes, but like the rising tide each time the sea of support draws back, it reveals the water mark is a bit higher than before. Of course the first thing anyone will tell you when discussing an investment opportunity is that past performance is no indicator of future success, so looking at where Bitcoin has come from is interesting but shouldn’t sell you on the idea.

Although that can be tempting to think about, what should sell you on the idea is what Bitcoin is, not what it was or what it may become. The main thing for parents looking into crypto to consider right now should be how widespread the adoption of a coin is. Some other cryptocurrencies are doing very well, but bitcoin is still the most widely accepted coin. For a parent looking to crypto to protect credit card info or to serve as a fast, border-less payment method in buy and selling, that’s what matters most.

Bitcoin has been accepted as a form of payment form small businesses such as coffeeshops and artisan soap makers, as well as massive global operations such as overstock.com. If you want to take it “to the moon” literally, Virgin Galactic will do so in btc.

Setting up shop with bitcoin could be as easy as registering for a wallet at blockchain.info, then posting a donation button or link, or simply the wallet address, as an augment to your regular forms of payment. Not everyone will pay by bitcoin, but just making it an available option may bring you a customer that you might not have otherwise get. It costs nothing to put that link up, so why not try?

 

You might also consider a service provider such as bitpay or coinbase to help you smoothly integrate a payment system. In the coming weeks I hope to set up my own kid’s clothing store and will be posting about the process.

So if you are not yet an online seller but would like to find out more follow this blog and we can all learn together.

Once you’ve earned some coin you can either spend it elsewhere, whether online or in a physical store, use it to donate to a charity, send it to friends and family overseas or cash it out through exchanges or through advertised local markets.

There’s a lot more to cryptocurrency than just Bitcoin, but for most people it is the more accessible option and a great place to learn the basics with plenty of support. Next post I’ll be exploring Reddcoin and the concept of social currency.

What is a cryptocurrency and why should mums and dads care?

The way I see it, there are two immediate reasons why I, as a parent, care about cryptocurrencies.
Firstly, right now you can start earning money and spending it.

There’s more and more retailers accepting cryptocurrencies and it is a simple and secure way to do business with low to nil transaction costs – a saving that can be passed on to the consumer and reduce the overheads for the would-be merchant. Additionally, with a small value coin like Reddcoin, we might see the microtipping revolution that could lead to artists and social commentators being paid directly for their contributions, rather than through the clouded and costly lens of management and middle men.

Speaking of a revolution:

Secondly, as parents we often wonder about the future. What sort of legacy am I leaving my sons? What will the world look like when they are older? I’m taking a gamble on crypto because I think people do want to move away from Big Banking. There are people in nations less fortunate than my own who need to get money in and out of their country quickly and without involving the banks. A decentralised, purely digital currency facilitates that. There’s a part of me that hopes the value of the small holding of coins I have will grow and be of use to my kids, but more so I want for them a world in which banks are not the sole holders of wealth. A world where creativity isn’t measured against profitably metrics in order to be produced, distributed and rewarded.

This blog will be an attempt to frame cryptocurrencies in light of what they offer families: freedom, financially and socially. I aim to present the argument that crypto isn’t just for tech heads and the dark net. It is poised to be as simple and widespread as email became, so let’s end this post by considering the following quote from Nicholas Cary, Blockchain.info CEO, that  Perianne Boring gives in her excellent Forbes article:

“People everyday of their lives use email, they probably have no idea how it works under the covers, but they use it because it’s simple, free, easy, and allows them to send messages anywhere in the world for free. It’s the same thing with Bitcoin, send money anywhere in the world for free.”

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