Gilbert Valentine
Dec 21, 2014 · 4 min read

WHY I PAY MY 7TH GRADER’S ALLOWANCE IN BITCOIN USING CHANGETIP

Author: Gil Valentine (athenabitcoin @thegilty)

I have two children, Chip is a 7th grader and Alexa is in 3rd grade. Recently my 7th grader asked me (for the 3rd time this year) that he’d like to earn an allowance. Twice now I‘ve compiled a list of tasks/chores that my wife & I would like him to accomplish during the week. It’s your standard allowance stuff make your bed, walk the dog, clean the dishes, and put them in the dishwasher; blah, blah, blah. He’s not digging it.

Now some of you may be saying that these basic household chores shouldn’t deserve financial recompense, I’m not going to doubt you. However my son earns excellent grades and works hard in both the classroom and in his athletic endeavors. He comes to church with me on Sundays and helps donate time with me at our favorite charity, Bernie’s Book Bank. Bonus! He doesn’t gripe about it! The things that earn him an allowance? Whoa boy! It’s like pulling teeth.

My son is, what my PhD friend and child tech consultant Dr. Devorah Heitner calls, a “digital native”. He’s social media savvy. For his 12th birthday he, I, and my friend Jonathan built a computer for his birthday. He’s learning how to code. Chip’s got a Twitter account, an Instagram account, he had a Facebook account but I think he deleted it. YouTube? Of course! He and his buddies make movies, mostly video game centric. The whole shmeer.

SEEKING A SOLUTION

So, I’ve decided pursue another tactic. Why not compile a list of tasks, and for certain completed tasks he receives a payment? What if those payments were not paid at the end of the week or occasionally but, pretty much, constantly? What if he “checks all the boxes” for the week, can he earn a bonus? I decided to experiment using Bitcoin and one of my favorite apps, ChangeTip.

The first thing I showed Chip how to create a ChangeTip account, how to link his ChangeTip account to his Twitter and YouTube accounts. Strong password please! It was easy, took two minutes. Then came the questions. The 1st thing he asked me was

“How am I going to get cash?”

That was a good question. For now, when he wants cash he can redeem his bitcoin for cash by sending it back to me via ChangeTip. Very few, if any, questions asked.

“Doesn’t Bitcoin go up & down in price?”

Yes, it does. I explained to him that there are risks that we bitcoiners are taking in being early adopters. One of those is price volatility relative to the dollar. But for the smaller amount of money that we are dealing with that it won’t make much of a difference. I also gave him a guarantee. That if the price crashes, he’ll get recompense. If the price goes up, he gets to keep the price appreciation. I know that’s not teaching him the hazards of speculation. However, there are many other ancillary benefits and teachable moments as my son and I transact in the bitcoin ecosystem. Chip is learning some interesting and valuable skills with this internet of money.

1. My son is learning Digital Hygiene- That’s DIGITAL, not DENTAL. He’s learning the value of security on the net. He now knows that bad actors will steal accounts and deposits from you unless you have a secure password and a secure place to store your (relatively) safe passwords.

2. My son is learning Banking & Saving — He is now his own bank. He can look at his ChangeTip account or one of his other Bitcoin wallet accounts and see his balances. He can spend freely from these accounts, or not. He can learn how to conserve resources. While he has a traditional bank savings account, he never checks it. He’s learning how to spend while looking at an account on the web that is easily accessible to him. We will soon attempt to link his bank account to one of the exchanges like Circle or Coinbase (I’m uncertain as to whether, or not, we can link a savings account.)

3. My son is learning Philanthropy — Chip donates his time through service projects with his church, school, and travel baseball team. I’m proud of him for participating in those projects and activities. Now, with Bitcoin, he can donate money on as small or large a scale as he chooses. A micropayment doesn’t get gobbled up by fees, you don’t have to put the check in the mail. It’s easy to do, & learning how to give, not only from giving time and service but resources is, I believe, a valuable lesson indeed. A list of charities and organizations that accept Bitcoin donations can be found here and here.

4. He’s learning Markets. Markets move. Securities and tokens move up and down in price. The price of things rarely stays the same.

Clearing the plate and putting it in the dishwasher? Making the bed? Brushing your teeth? Meh… that’s part of the weekly allowance.

Getting up early to walk our puppy? So his parents don’t have to? Yep, that’ll get ya some bonus satoshi’s!

So… for the last few weeks we’ve implemented ChangeTip into our new allowance agreement he’s become more involved in his own finances. He even walks the puppy a little more often than he used to. If he wants some cash? He just sends it back to me via ChangeTip on Twitter and I give him some cash. It works out nicely for both of us! Until June 15th, 2015 ChangeTip will be waiving fees, that’s a bonus!

Until then we’ll be using the ChangeTip “A love button of the Internet” that’s “Building a liquidity engine for giving and generosity on the web” to learn together, transfer money amongst ourselves, to give to others, and have some fun with Bitcoin, the “money of the internet”.

Gil Valentine is interested in Bitcoin and digital currency from both a philosophical and business perspective. Gil continues to learn about the many complexities, hone his proficiencies, and believes in the great promise of Blockchain technology. He is the COO & co-founder of Athena Bitcoin Inc. You can follow him on Twitter @thegilty.

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