I like myCryptoHippo

I just attended a Toronto Crypto Sumit , which featured something called “myCryptoHippo” represented by a bright purple hippopotamus cartoon.  I honestly did not know what to expect, but had a good surprise from that Hippopotamidae.

Most of the event unfolded as expected, being a summit about cryptocurrencies.  I promptly forgot most of it with the exception of the pink critter presentation.

So what is “myCrypto Hippo” and why did it capture my attention? I think it can introduce itself by means of its website.

If you did not go to the website, and you are to lazy to do it, myCryptoHippo is a cryptocurrency trading simulator. You use it by starting with a given amount, say $10K, and then have a jolly time trying to make money by fiddling with your investment basket of cryptocurrencies and tokens.

Let me tell you why it is a big deal, by pointing you to the “About us” link (if you have not done so), and look at the pictures in there. You will see something like this:

myCryptoHippo.com Team (This photo is from their site as the one I took is  too crappy to use here. Blame Apple)

They describe themselves as: “myCryptoHippo is a company created as part of the Junior Achievement Central Ontario Company Program. The team is comprised of crypto-curious high school students and blockchain enthusiasts. We strongly believe in the power of education in empowering the public to adapt the mainstream use of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.”

I am going to pause here for dramatic effect… or wait for your “Meh, what’s the big deal? Get on with it!”  If you did a “Meh” then get the hell outta here, and don’t let the door hit ya on the way out!

For the ones that went to the site and/or (I know, and/or is bad grammar) read  my description, you noticed the team is made of high schoolers. Let me add another piece of data you don’t get from the site: a large percent of the audience had the same age range, and asked a lot of questions about “money”. I have never felt so old than when I attended that event.

Now we get to the part where I unveil the significance: myCryptoHyppo was created by Gen Z for Gen Z, so they can learn about cryptocurrencies. Their words. If that does not pause you then check your pulse, as you  may have died some time ago.

I can see that I am failing to move you in any significant way. Let me keep on trying…

According to Wikipedia, Generation Z (aka iGen) is the cohort (that’s a weird word!) starting with the birth year 1993. Gen Z was preceded by Millenials (aka Gen Y) , which was preceded by Generation X, which was preceded by Baby Boomers, which were preceded by the Silent Generation.

Wikipedia does not specify if the cohorts (that word again!) groupings are a North America specific thing, or applies to the rest of the world. I suspect the former, but I will pretend I did not figure that out.

Much has been said about the Generations, their preferences, life styles and so on. There are books, videos and other materials about it so people from one generation can make fun of another. I will let XKCD explain it to you:

 

Generations. I think Romans had the same “kids these days!” issues

For the purposes of this blog I will do a very liberal characterization for some of those generations,  as per how I think they view money and the The Economy:

  • Greatest Generation: Broke. No Money. Too busy dying to make money. Rich folks don’t seem to pay taxes.
  • Silent Generation: Managed to save money while working hard for The Man. Yet another pointless war.
  • Baby Boomers: The Man gave me money and I am saving none! Crazy banks, giving me money because of my house! Woohoo Inheritance!
  • Generation X: We are so screwed! Baby Boomers borrowed to much! Economy is in the  crapper! Where is my inheritance? Wow.. the price of education!
  • Millennials:  No money, man! The ones before me bought all the houses. Back at home living with mama, to pay student loan.
  • Generation Z: Screw The Man! I am going to make my own money! I don’t want your bull… jobs.

Now that I made fun of the generations, let’s get back to Money. This is a blockchain blog after all.

If I were to summarize how society views on money have changed, it would include (get ready for another bulleted list) the following, as per my liberal misinterpretation of this book “Money: The Unauthorised Biography“. I will use some pictures to keep you entertained, and then tie it back to Gen Z.

It started with barter…

What do you mean 1.5 chichen? How about if I give you 0.8 newspaper! How would you like that!
  • In the elder days of yore there was no money: Hear Hear! Trading 2.5 chickens for 3/4 of a pig
  • When bartering became a problem: Chickens and fractions don’t mix. Lets use “_insert scarce resource here_”.  Three and a half cowrie shells for 1.5 chickens. Crap, lets use stones instead!
  • Dude on a horse with scary army takes over: I the Sovereign and Ruler of the Universe declare this pieces of metal shall be used for trading chickens. No fractions! No shaving metal from the pieces either!

 

Sovereign with sword in his/her coin. Can’t tell. This is half a sovereign, the coin not the person. Someone shaved the sovereign 😉
  • Then people with puffy wigs got in “the action”: These here pieces of paper are the equivalent to metal… what do you mean why? Because I say so! What? .. off with his head!
Puffy Wigs “make” paper money while hoarding  gold. Off with their heads!.. uh.. wrong book.
  • Not long after, shops and trade owners get involved: Never mind that puffery! I am going to start recording paper and metal in this ledger which I just invented. I also came up with a way to cook said ledger. Hey, this ledger looks like money! I wonder… I am a bank!
  • Some time later, and after couple of world wars and some revolutions: Never mind gold (yes, we still like) but it is all about the ledger. Let’s put all that gold in a safe place. Look into my eyes: believe in the ledger!
  • After some severe cooking of book tanks the global economy: I wish I had some gold!  Money is a social construct created by The Man to control us! I am going to make my own money!

 

Thank you sir! Without you we would have not considered making our own cryptocurrency

And that brings us to Gen Z and the “make your own money” thing.  If you managed to read to this point, my argument should be obvious: Gen Z is not taking the previous generations at their word on the nature of money. “We” sold them a bill of goods in economic terms, and they know it.

It will be hard for people with swords, puffy wigs, or ties, to convince them that money issued by a sovereign is any better than what they can issue on their own using a blockchain. That’s why I like myCryptoHippo in particular, and Gen Z in general. I predict they will rock, and give a massive headache to people in charge used to deal with the previous generations. Also, one day they will be in charge and maybe will fix the pile of manure we are passing down.

 

This is what I am talking about. Good luck to their future bosses!

 

At this point some of you are thinking:  Isn’t bitcoin some sort of temporary thing, bubble or fad? Well, that could be the case. Also, the Sovereign may get fed up with all this noise about “my own money”, and put that sword to work and crash the whole thing.

Some people believe Bitcoin is indestructible. It is not. Its infrastructure is heavily dependent on networks that are getting more centralized as we speak. But that is not what is important. I will leave you with a quote from my favourite author, for you think about:

” Finally, Bitcoin will go through hick-ups (hiccups). It may fail; but then it will be easily reinvented as we now know how it works….  its mere existence is an insurance policy that will remind governments that the last object establishment could control, namely, the currency, is no longer their monopoly. This gives us, the crowd, an insurance policy against an Orwellian future” Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

I rest my case.

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