On the face of it, it might seem ridiculous to feel some need to educate our children about cryptocurrency. These are, after all, callow youths. Why clutter their minds with information about such a complex topic, one that even adults struggle to understand? As of April 2022, there were nearly 19,000 cryptos, worth nearly $2 trillion. Who can wrap their mind around all that?
On the other hand, there are two things to consider: It appears crypto is going to loom large in their world – that it will be “a part of everyday life, just as the internet is,” as Melvin Breton Guerrero, policy specialist for UNICEF’s Office of Global Insight and Policy, told the website Cointelegraph.com.
And the other thing that is true in this case is, what they don’t know can hurt them.
So yes, it would behoove parents to get their kids up to speed on crypto – that it is an essential part of establishing their financial literacy. Joyce Serido, associate professor and extension specialist of family social science at the University of Minnesota, told Investopedia that “teaching about money (almost) starts at birth,” and a Cambridge University study concluded that our understanding of money can begin as early as age 3, and can be well on its way to being established by the age of 7.
Youngsters (and, really, adults alike) need to understand just how pervasive cryptos are becoming, and likely will become. Bitcoin, for example, is now the official currency of El Salvador and the Central African Republic, and is accepted as legal tender in over 30 other countries, including the U.S. Moreover, some economists believe crypto might become a more popular spending method than cash or credit cards in no more than a decade.
It’s also important to note that while most major crypto exchanges limit crypto ownership to those 18 and older, they do allow custodial accounts for minors. The result is that younger and younger people are involved in this asset class. As an example, a 2021 survey by Piper Sandler, an American investment bank and financial services company, showed that nine percent of U.S. teens had traded cryptos.
All the more reason for them to be educated as early as possible. While it might prove difficult (and fruitless) to try to explain to a young person such things as cryptos’ volatility (much less their tax implications and the dangers scammers present), it should be pointed out to them that things aren’t always as they seem – that if it sounds too good to be true, chances are it is.
Social media platforms, not to mention YouTube videos, can aid adults in their attempts to explain cryptos to youngsters. So too can websites like cryptocurrnecyteens.com, which according to Investors.com was launched by a New York City high school student named Abigail Li. The goal, Li told that outlet, is to counter misinformation, as in her estimation “a lot of the sources … weren’t exactly reputable.”
That underscores the central point about cryptocurrency: Education is crucial. The world is moving faster and faster, and young people need to be brought up to speed, need to understand an asset class that figures to impact them more and more in the years ahead. Simply put, the more they know, the better off they will be.