By Paulina Cachero
Hip-hop mogul Jay-Z and Block CEO Jack Dorsey are teaming up to take Bitcoin and financial education to the rapper’s childhood home. Dorsey announced the launch of Bitcoin Academy on Thursday. The financial education program will be free for residents living at the Marcy Houses, a public housing complex in Brooklyn.
The program will be offered both in-person and online from June to September. It launches in the midst of a turbulent year for cryptocurrencies. After soaring to almost $69,000 in November, Bitcoin has been in freefall for most of this year, with the largest cryptocurrency tumbling as much as 63% from that all-time high. More than $200 billion in overall market value was erased in a single day after the collapse of TerraUSD in May.
The Bitcoin Academy said it aims to “provide education, empower the community with knowledge” about how to manage their finances with a focus on Bitcoin — which the website describes as the “future of money.” Because the digital asset “doesn’t have barriers,” the pair launched the program to “prove that making powerful tools more available to people enables them to build greater independence,” Dorsey said.
Dorsey and Shawn Corey Carter, better known as “Jay-Z,” said they wanted to educate residents about Bitcoin after seeing how the cryptocurrency became a “critical tool for many in Africa and Central and South America,” Dorsey said on Twitter.
An avid Bitcoin enthusiast, Dorsey has said that cryptocurrency would replace banks and bring economic opportunity to the developing world. Jay-Z has a history in the industry, too. The rapper invested in blockchain start-up Alchemy, which has powered a number of web3 giants including the NFT marketplace OpenSea.
Dorsey and Jay-Z are also long-time business partners. In early 2021, Dorsey agreed to pay $300 million for Tidal, the music streaming service owned by the rapper. In return, Jay-Z got a seat on Block’s board of directors as part of the deal.
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