This is an opinion editorial by Phil Snyder, teacher, video director and editor.
When I was first developing my Bitcoin course at the University of Houston, I felt a bit like Dr. Albert Schweitzer landing in equatorial Africa in 1913. I had my trusty black bag full of orange pills, but he had no idea if any of the natives would. swallow what I prescribed. Then there was that rabbit hole they were forced to dig first, so they would have somewhere to go for the necessary creepy fall. As is the case with any missionary endeavor, the first imperative is to establish a bridgehead by winning over the tribal chiefs. In my case, these would be the digital media program coordinator and our department chair in the College of Technology.
But before I stuck my neck out, I needed to see if any other Bitcoin missionaries had preceded me. I was surprised to discover that in the fall of 2020 there was no accredited course on Bitcoin in the entire university system, not even in Computer Engineering or the Faculty of Business. The only higher education course I could find at the time was Gary Gensler’s (now SEC Chairman) 2018 offering at MIT, which has millions of views on YouTube. So it’s not like there’s no market. A recently released survey found that two-thirds of parents and college graduates who had an understanding and involvement in cryptocurrencies believe the subject should be required in schools. Frankly, as a non-degreed teaching associate professor whose job it was to teach film, video, and animation, I wasn’t eager to take on an additional burden of this magnitude and risk, but in the end I went with what my conscience told me. insist that he was my fiduciary. duty
I’ll skip the parts of that missionary metaphor about dodging poison darts, even though there were quite a few. After receiving permission to teach the course, we created a brochure to be distributed to prospective students at the university. I was photographed holding one of these novelty representations of a “bitcoin”, offering it as an incentive for students to enroll. My boss sent it out to a few hundred students, claiming he would give a bitcoin to each signup! You’re right if you assume he didn’t understand the basics. There were a few students who knew enough to reply that it had to be a joke, and I was glad I wasn’t being sued for false advertising. Soon after, my boss was the first to receive my introductory lecture.
When our three-credit course was in session, the rollout of bitcoin as legal tender in El Salvador was in full swing. One of my students was from San Salvador, and his family back home was experiencing President Nayib Bukele’s bold initiative firsthand. My student solemnly expressed his and his family’s fears and misgivings about the top-down nature of its implementation. I repeatedly expressed to him my sincere hope that everything would work out to his great benefit and that he would be able to take what he learned in the course and put it to good use at home as a newly minted Bitcoin evangelist.
As I write this, we are in the third week of the fall semester of 2022. During a lecture, while describing bitcoin’s seizure resistance and inflation protection, one of my students said that she was from Venezuela and that she and his family had personally experienced the total devastation caused by the unscrupulous dictator’s inadequate money-printing policies. Nicolás Maduro He agreed that small bitcoin miners found financial salvation from the disasters around them. I managed to keep my composure, but it was a struggle. The excitement in the classroom was palpable.
Stories like these are real-world anecdotal evidence of the dire need for the fantastically far-reaching solution that is Bitcoin. Sometimes Americans laugh at our “first world” problems, like not having a wallet big enough to hold all our fiat, while citizens of developing nations face life-or-death circumstances which bitcoin can (and is) solving. However, we are still a long way from reaching a critical mass of conversion.
I don’t consider myself to be on the front lines of the war against fiat here in my cushy academic job, but I have hopes of making a genuine impact on the fight. As part of our outreach efforts, we’ve partnered with the Texas Blockchain Council and the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce to host popular educational networking events, and will soon mine bitcoin as a state-of-the-art research project . ASIC miner and support from Foundry Digital.
As a Bitcoiner, you may be experiencing feelings similar to mine a couple of years ago: My head is buzzing with anticipation at bitcoin’s potential for global disruption, but with no idea how, beyond investing, to participate in spreading the gospel. Well, the good news is that you are already on your way by educating yourself, which is the first step. You’ve seen the sights here on the rabbit hole, which become more and more curious, and as you feed your growing curiosity with the magical mushrooms of knowledge expansion, opportunities will surely appear at every providential nexus. Whether it’s on the streets of San Salvador or in the checkout line at Costco, you’re being coached by an omniscient, invisible intelligence that loves you and loves the people who send you the orange pill.
“From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and to whom they trusted a lot, they will ask for more.” (Jesus in Luke 12:48)
This is a guest post by Phil Snyder. The opinions expressed are entirely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.