I am a believer in the adage, “to understand where we are going, we need to understand where we came from”. I am spending this week talking about the Journey of Money - From Barter to Bitcoin with curious campers who are rising 7th, 8th and 9th graders.
In our first class, we talked about two-party and multi-party barter (aka crazy barter), which led to the discussion of what really is the function of money. The lesson being that for something to qualify as money, it needs to provide certain functions, i.e., store of value, unit of account and medium of exchange. There was a debate on whether bushels of wheat, bags of salt, and even gold provided all these functions.
This has perfectly set the stage for us to now get into paper money, plastic money, and cryptocurrencies. Along the way, we will learn the functions of banks, types of account, investing basics, and compound interest which Albert Einstein called the “eighth wonder of the world – he who understands it earns it, he who doesn’t pays it”.
The group is also going to get a taste of the uncertainty of investing in the next few days, as well as explore ideas on the future of banking and currencies. I am excited to see where it goes next – someone might go on to create a new, better financial experience for all of us in the future, perhaps something virtual, fee-free, globally usable, and trustworthy!