Here’s what College Students are Saying about Cryptocurrency
As part of our Road to Adoption, Mosendo has hired a team of student researchers.
I interviewed each about their perspectives about cryptocurrency — I wanted to capture their beliefs and opinions before we started so we had a benchmark. I found their answers to be very helpful in understanding the barriers and opportunities forward along the road to adoption.
These four students study at Lake Forest College, my alma mater near Chicago, IL.
International student from Eswatini (formally Swaziland)
Nombuso wants to be a strategic consultant for businesses. She has an interest in the remote style of working and freelance, and likes to work on varying projects. She sees this as an opportunity to learn these skills from a company without being married to it, so she can potentially strike out on her own one day.
She is going to study abroad at the UAE just because it offers a unique and diverse experience, expanding beyond western ideology. She has a background in global finance & economic research, which also drew her to this project. She wants to continue to expand her knowledge and develop her skills in that area. She considers herself to be a strong researcher and has experience in identifying and fixing issues facing SMEs.
Nombuso, why are you interested in crypto?
My friends could not stop talking about it over lunch, I had to do my own research. I found the idea of decentralization compelling. Being African, seeing what it can do for the liberation of many African countries has made it a field I am interested in exploring and learning more about.
Do you have any reservations about the future of cryptocurrency?
I think that decentralization is a bit “far-fetched” and that it would be a really hard sell to leaders. Right now money is so centralized and controlled, it is hard to imagine people changing the way they think about it and getting leaders and banks to give up that power.
Do you think leaders controlling currency was a good thing?
She didn’t pause to respond: “No!” — and then followed up:
The trend is that many African countries suffer from inflation, and we have seen extreme cases where it has had disastrous effects, such as in Zimbabwe. And who is really to blame but the governments? And people in power. Never mind the post-colonial challenges that many countries still face today that have kept many countries dependent on Western powers, weakening African currencies. This has had the negative effects of decreasing cross-border business and discouraged foreign direct investment.
We hope Nombuso will complete our internship with Mosendo with a clear vision for how cryptocurrency can support her vision for an improved world.
American graduate from Minnesota
Trenton is a recent graduate who wrote his senior thesis on Bitcoin, titled: Crypto Mania: Determining the Drivers and Philosophical Implications of Financial Bubbles to Inform Speculation.
He is starting as a financial advisor with AXA Advisors but is ultimately looking to pursue a career in investment management. He sees this internship with Mosendo as a perfect opportunity to get ahead of the curve in his career.
Trenton, why are you interested in crypto?
I see so much potential in cryptocurrency, not only in our financial services but also in my career.
He finds interest identifying solutions that may not be so visible to everyone else and also being a part of the development of revolutionary ideas — a big reason why he is so drawn to crypto
Do you believe that a future with cryptocurrency is a guarantee or far-fetched?
Bitcoin? I don’t believe it is the replacement for cash. I just don’t think there’s any way the government would allow an unregulated coin to do that. Either the government has to get out of the way, or they have to be involved.
As we continued to talk, however, I explained to him a bit about the principal of uncensorability.
My first impression was that in order for cryptocurrency to happen, the government would have to allow it. For as long as I can remember, the government has been in charge of our money! But as we talk about it my eyes are starting to open to other possibilities. Cryptocurrency will eventually become useful, in fact, it could be the thing we actually use as cash.
But he did explain that Bitcoin is too volatile to be used as cash.
Cryptocurrency is almost nearly a guarantee. A matter of time. I think we’re far away from it, but it will happen…Hearing about all these different startups, I thought ”You’re telling me that the government doesn’t have to be involved? Yeah right.” But now this seems like this could really work.
Trenton is a well-qualified intern and we are excited to have him on our team!
International student from Brazil
Joao is majoring in Finance and Math. He’s interested in banking to some degree, but generally wants to explore different opportunities in the finance space. We laughed about the irony of his interning with us based on that interest! He’s excited to be involved with an internship that involves him with finance.
He’s interested in data analysis and will be helping us in that domain.
He told me a bit about issues he has faced that our company hopes to help with. He explained that being from Brazil, he is constantly facing issues receiving and sending money in and out of the country. Every time he is about to purchase something he first thinks about the value of the dollar compared to the Real (Brazil’s currency) and thinks of how much it will actually cost his parents at the end of the month.
He not only has to consider the low value of Brazil’s currency compared to the US Dollar but also has to take into account the transaction costs and fees applied to his parents’ bank account since he is using their card from Brazil for consumption in America. In order to avoid this, he opened his own bank account in the US so he could pay for some of his expenses and not have to face these extra costs, but he is not able to pay for everything himself.
What was it like when you first came here?
When I first came to the United States my parents converted a large amount of Reais in Dollars so I would have access to some cash in case of emergency. It was a limited amount of cash since I was not able to withdraw from anywhere and only used when credit card was not an option. Due to inflation and price fluctuations of the Reai and Dollar, doing that is risky as the value of each currency can change and the amount of money they initially used to exchange currencies may not be worth as much later.
What are your thoughts on cryptocurrency?
My first experience with bitcoin was through my dad, who had heard and learned more about the growing cryptocurrency and despite believing in its potential he only bought it as a trade mechanism, hoping that the price would increase, as it did, so he could sell his shares later on. I remember him mentioning that even though the price went up after he sold all of his shares, he was too afraid that the value of the coin could drop overnight and he could lose his money due to the cryptocurrency’s high volatility.
Do you think cryptocurrency could go mainstream?
I am also a firm believer in the potential of cryptocurrencies and admire its intentions. The idea that every single person could have access to the same currency and make overseas transactions with low to no cost sound too good to be true. I think this is a possibility but that still might be a little far from becoming true. More and more people are studying this area and familiarizing themselves with this idea, which helps build a community and supports the whole purpose of it. But research has been done for some time now and yet I have not personally experienced or seen anyone make use of these cryptocurrencies for actual consumption. The few cases that I have heard of involve people who are more experts on the area and have a deeper knowledge of the subject.
He went on to explain:
I have just started studying and reading more about bitcoin and cryptocurrency but am still reluctant to take a position as to whether this will take over in the future. If everyone buys into the idea and explores the full potential of this new form of transaction and expenditure, then people will see its advantages and lose their fear of using it. The volatility, despite not being as high is still an issue but the security and decentralization system are indeed very needed nowadays.
Joao is a welcome addition to our team and I will be interested to see how his options change as he learns more.
Siraj Ul Munir
International student from Pakistan
Currently majoring in Economics & Politics, Siraj plans on pursuing a career either in economic policymaking or as a financial analyst for a major multinational company. His interest in this field comes from the fact that economic policies play a important role in the lives of people, regardless of where they live and what position they hold in the society.
He is also interested in acting!
Siraj, why are you interested in crypto?
The reason I am interested in crypto is because of the simple fact that i don’t know much about it, just like a lot of people who have only heard or read about it in the news. It has been in the news for quite some time now, & has been a bit controversial as well. People do not necessarily buy into the idea that it is sustainable, among other reasons. I did some research into it, and what I found particularly fascinating is the concept of decentralization. Crypto claims to give people the ownership of their money which under the traditional financial system is not owned by them.
Do you think that crypto could be adopted into the mainstream?
If we go back in time, like 100 years back, and tell someone about internet, they would certainly think that we’ve lost our mind. I don’t see why crypto can’t be a mainstream financial system in the future. This, however, doesn’t mean that it would be easy by any means because right now people have a very vague understanding of crypto/bitcoin, to say the least. A tremendous amount of effort needs to be put in in educating people about the true nature of crypto, and it’s trademark characteristics.
Siraj is also a welcomed addition to our team, and brings with him a perspective we will really value.
Interested in helping us as well?