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 poloniex, swisscex, tcx.la, nxt-e, BTC-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.