Cryptocurrency 101 in the South Bronx
Carlos Acevedo, a teacher at a public high school in the South Bronx, recently invited a group of his former students back for a two-day course in cryptocurrencies. He planned to cover decentralization, Blockchain, peer-to-peer networks, and fiat currencies. Each student would then get five dollars, in a form of cryptomoney called Zcash, to spend. “After these two days, you’re going to be the one per cent,” he told the twenty-five young people who had gathered at the South Bronx Business Lab. “You’re going to know more about Cryptocurrency and Blockchain than ninety-nine per cent of people out there. You have the opportunity to get in on the industry right now.”
Until last month, Acevedo taught English at Morris Academy, in Morrisania, which is in the poorest congressional district in the country. Having read about Bitcoin, he started investing in Cryptocurrency in 2014, and he’s been hooked ever since. He views it as a way of helping what he calls “the unbanked,” so he created the Crypto Community Project, with the goal of building a Cryptocurrency economy in the South Bronx.
Acevedo, who wore a Zcash T-shirt, reminded the students that they were in the Forty-first Precinct—known as Fort Apache, he explained—which was at one time “the most dangerous precinct in New York City.” Low-income neighborhoods like theirs often lack banks where people can open savings accounts or apply for loans; instead, they rely on pawnshops and check-cashing joints that charge huge fees. Over truck noise on the Bruckner Expressway outside, Acevedo said, “For the first time in history, if you have a phone you