Economic classes should teach cryptocurrencies

Michael O'Gorman, Business Editor

Picture by Michael O’Gorman
Senior Evan Berkowitz checks bitcoin prices. Economics teachers should start including instruction about cryptocurrencies.

The energy used to mine cryptocurrencies in 2017 was estimated to power Italy for half a year.  Because of the controversy around cryptocurrencies using so much energy, they are frequently talked about in the news.  With the impacts that cryptocurrencies are currently having on the world, it makes sense to talk about them in economics classes in high schools.

Bitcoin has around a $113 billion market cap, with many people investing and trading.  The problem is most people cannot answer basic questions regarding cryptocurrencies, as it is not taught in any class.  That makes people who are knowledgeable able to profit on the phenomenon, but not students taking an economics classes, even though cryptocurrencies relate to the economy.

“I learned how that stuff works,” said Bitcoin miner, senior Evan Berkowitz. He added he “cashed out for real money and traded it,” when talking about Bitcoin.

Cryptocurrencies affect the economy because of mining and also investing that occurs.  Investing in cryptocurrencies is a lot like investing in the stock exchange.  An economics class teaching how cryptocurrencies work can be very beneficial to people who want to learn about economics and technology.

Cryptocurrencies have grown because of the technological advances the world has achieved.  With cryptocurrencies growing students should have the opportunity to at least touch base on how they work when taking an economics class.

“The more technology takes a hold and takes hold of the economics and stock in our society, then the more cryptocurrencies will become popular,”  student Everett Krol explained.  “Over time it’s just going to increase in its influence,” he added.

The more technology takes a hold and takes hold of the economics and stock in our society, then the more cryptocurrencies will become popular.”

— Everett Krol

Currently, some high schools are even teaching cryptocurrencies.  For example, Union Catholic Regional High School in New Jersey is teaching cryptocurrency in Business and Personal Finance.  With computer science being an option for career paths, being taught cryptocurrencies in high school can allow students to dabble in that career.

When talking about whether to teach cryptocurrencies or not, physics teacher Dennis Symalla said, “I don’t know, it certainly is a current event.”

Cryptocurrencies also inform students about world politics and economic policies.  Right now cryptocurrencies are controversial in their energy usage, and many governments are trying to make policies impacting cryptocurrencies and miners.

Krol also said that cryptocurrencies are “very important now especially with how it ties into technology in our society and how important it is understand if one chooses to be informed on modernized economic policy.”

Econ teachers should consider teaching cryptocurrencies in their classes.  Students taking an economics class should also consider if they find cryptocurrencies important, then talk to their teachers.  If students and staff both think about changing content in economics class due to new technology, then the usefulness of the class will improve.