There is a growing interest in cryptocurrency education in El Salvador. Already, more than 25,000 students have learned the basics of Bitcoin in classrooms. Children as young as 12 are being introduced to the world of cryptocurrencies thanks to members of the Bitcoin Beach community. They learn not only about the theoretical background of Bitcoin, but also about the practicalities - how to send transactions and how a Bitcoin wallet works.
Roman Martínez, the leader of Bitcoin Beach, believes in the importance of early education in Bitcoin and the economy. He believes it can change the fate of many children from less privileged backgrounds. Martínez and his team organize after-school programs where they visit schools every Friday and teach kids all about the Bitcoin wallet, transactions and help them receive their first satoshi. Despite initial fears and prejudices, many students are embracing the technology with enthusiasm. Martínez stresses that Bitcoin represents "the latest evolution of money" and, when combined with other life skills, can open doors to better job opportunities for children.
There is also another non-profit in El Salvador focused on Bitcoin education called My First Bitcoin, which has helped 25,000 students obtain a "Bitcoin Diploma" through the public school system. An interesting fact is that approximately 70% of the population in El Salvador does not have access to banking services. Many of these educational programs were kicked off after the government of El Salvador set a world precedent and recognized Bitcoin as a legal means of payment in September 2021.
The first Bitcoin spot ETF in the EU goes public on Euronext Amsterdam
Europe's first spot Bitcoin ETF is emerging. After more than a year of waiting since its planned launch, the Jacobi Bitcoin ETF is entering the Euronext exchange in Amsterdam. The product from London-based digital asset management company Jacobi Asset Management will expose investors to a financial product physically backed by bitcoin.
The ETF, called BCOIN, will give investors exposure to Bitcoin, with an actual physical value in Bitcoin behind each share of the fund. Fidelity Digital Assets will be responsible for providing the storage of these physical Bitcoins. Uniquely, however, Jacobi Asset Management has attached a Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) to the product in a bid to promote environmental sustainability.
The launch of this spot Bitcoin ETF marks a milestone for Europe, while US regulators have still not approved several similar applications for spot Bitcoin ETFs from large asset management companies. The introduction of such a product in Europe could mark a significant shift in the acceptance of cryptocurrencies among institutional investors and in the broader financial sector. Jacobi's CEO, Martin Bednall, expressed his excitement that Europe is leading the way in regulated crypto-investment products.
China proposes to implement its social credit system to the metaverse
China intends to adapt its controversial social credit system to the virtual world of the metaverse. According to reports, China's state-owned telecommunications company, China Mobile, has come forward with a proposal for a digital identity for all users of the metaverse and virtual worlds. This digital identity would include personal information and identifiable features such as an individual's occupation. The aim, it is claimed, is to maintain "order and security in the virtual world". With such an ID, it would be possible to quickly identify and punish individuals who, for example, spread false information in the metaverse.
The proposal is heavily inspired by China's social credit system, which rates and ranks citizens according to various metrics and has also been used as a tool to enforce behaviour in line with state perceptions. In 2018, for example, more than 17.5 million people were banned from buying airline tickets due to low social credit.
Interestingly, China Mobile made these proposals as part of discussions with a metaverse focus group organised by the International Telecommunication Union at the United Nations (ITU). If approved, the proposals could have a significant impact on telecoms companies and technology firms, as the ITU aims to set new standards for metaverse services. It is important to note that Chinese firms are more active in these discussions and are seeking to have their proposals adopted as standards for the metaverse in the future.