Jay-Z has teamed up with former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to debut The Bitcoin Academy in the rapper's home of Brooklyn, New York.
“[Jay-Z] and I are funding The Bitcoin Academy, a program for residents of Marcy Houses in Brooklyn New York where Jay grew up,” Dorsey Tweeted.
“Bitcoin Academy, starting in Marcy, a place that taught me so much, is hopefully the first of many," Jay-Z added. "The simple goal is to provide people tools to build independence for themselves and then the community around them.”
This summer, residents of the Marcy Houses will have completely free access to innovative financial education programs through The Bitcoin Academy. The programs will be taught by Black Bitcoin Billionaire Founder Lamar Wilson and Najah J. Roberts, founder of the first African-American and woman-owned crypto exchange and education center in the U.S.
“The vision for Bitcoin is that it doesn’t have barriers, but lack of access to financial education is a barrier,” reads The Bitcoin Academy's mission statement. “This program aims to provide education, empower the community with knowledge, and get rid of some of the barriers so that residents can learn more about Bitcoin specifically and finance in general.”
An April report from Ariel Investments found that 25% of Black Americans owned cryptocurrency, compared to just 15% of white Americans. In recent months, discussion has been growing around the relationship between Bitcoin, global human rights, and equality; The Bitcoin Academy's inaugural free education program in the Marcy Houses is the latest example of that connection.
The step is not a big surprise for Jay-Z, whose identity as a rapper is largely colored by sub-identities as an entrepreneur and visionary. He and Dorsey are also longtime friends and associates – the rapper was famously seen with wife Beyonce onboard a yacht with Dorsey in 2020, and the pair made headlines again recently when Dorsey's Block (then Square) acquired Jay-Z's TIDAL streaming service for $302 million.
For Dorsey, the project represents another vector on the tech entrepreneur's decidedly non-traditional and unpredictable path since leaving Twitter.
“Bitcoin is becoming a critical tool for many in Africa and Central and South America,” Dorsey said. “We believe the same potential exists within communities in the U.S. Our goal is to prove that making powerful tools more available to people enables them to build greater independence.”