This is an op-ed by Trey Walsh, senior director of youth programs at the MassHire Metro North Workforce Board in Somerville, Massachusetts.
Our world has seen dramatic shifts and changes in recent years: a global pandemic, war, political unrest, and a growing sense of pessimism toward governments, the future health of our planet, and our global financial system. And there is one group, particularly in the Western world and the United States, that has become increasingly dissatisfied and, in some cases, desperate above the rest: Gen Z.
But I believe there is one big reason for hope that this generation has yet to fully realize: Bitcoin.
There are countless studies and articles discuss Generation Z and the mental health crises facing this generation in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, inequality, politics, socio-economic and labor market conditions, and more. Naturally, these factors have taken their toll on this generation, and there continues to be a general narrative of desperation, from environmental groups who in many cases have placed the burden of future climate catastrophe on this younger generation who now face “climate anxiety” to politicians calling every election a to fight for our democracy/nation. Earlier generations were offered more reasons to be optimistic, including relative affordability of the middle-class American dream – that my generation of millennials encouraged to be who we wanted to be and to see innovation and creativity at every turn. While my generation has also seen the crushing reality of major financial crises, student debt, and some of the anxieties similar to those faced by Gen Z, we still have the advantage of having grown up in a time of limitless possibilities thanks to the advent of the Internet, which has better prepared us for the state of the world today.
I have seen first hand the effects of these issues on the younger generation. In my role as Senior Director of Youth Programs for a nonprofit organization based in Somerville, Massachusetts, working with high school partners in our area, it’s clear to me that our young people are facing dark outlook, from trying to complete their education during COVID-19 and the dire state of virtual learning at the time, to trying to prepare for the future and meeting the challenges of work, college and mental health, while many of these students are also working to meet the basic needs of their own families.
Teachers are overworked and underpaid and students lack the support needed to deal with these issues. Families are burdened with rising inflation, lack of savings, and college has yet (if ever) become more affordable. Hope, if ever to be found, has not been the dominant narrative in recent years. However, there is a lot to look forward to with Bitcoin.
Bitcoin, like the internet, is increasing its use cases and possibilities every year. Since Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper abandoned on October 31, 2008 following a great financial crisis, hope has increasingly been found in the possibilities and use cases of bitcoin.
Bitcoin is hope for the environment
A popular narrative from mainstream media, politicians (especially the Democratic Party, of which I am a registered voter) and major environmental groups is that Bitcoin is bad for the environment. End of the conversation.
Unfortunately, many in Gen Z have been presented with this as fact, when the reality is that Bitcoin’s possibilities, especially through mining and positive effects it can have on our environment, are quite unlimited and have just been realized. Bitcoin encourages the construction of renewable energy and can offset carbon emissions, stabilize energy networks, bring energy to remote destinations around the world via financial incentives and much more. Young people facing climate anxiety should learn the benefits of bitcoin on our environment and see the great potential of fighting climate change while spreading prosperity and stability to those who need it most.
Bitcoin is the hope for a more socially just economic system
Gen Z is very concerned about injustice, inequality and corporate greed and it is increasingly skeptical of “capitalism”. Bitcoin provides equal access – a transparent system that cannot be manipulated or controlled. We are doing this younger generation a disservice by not share with them the progressive ideas inherent in Bitcoin that promote financial freedom and greater equality. Should we let the banks and the wealthy be early adopters of Bitcoin, or should we present Bitcoin as something that entices Gen Z to hold this technology of freedom?
Bitcoin is a hope for democracy
Generation Z is increasingly skeptical of politicians and our political process in the United States. With bitcoin, and on a bitcoin standard, fiat incentives in politics are more significantly limited.
Regardless of intent, Bitcoin is a “don’t trust, verify” system, which means more accountability in our policy, and less manipulation and trust needed. Now, this by no means completely solves politics or guarantees a perfect utopian democracy, but it can give hope to this generation that wants its voice heard, and that wants freedom and free will to rule. his story and see a better world. I think that’s a much bigger selling point than what World Economic Forum will offer.
This list of hope via Bitcoin is just the beginning. Gen Z deserves the opportunity to be presented with the stories of hope in Bitcoin, rather than being shot down by the hellish future landscape that is increasingly having devastating consequences for this generation. As Gen Z fights for a better future, Bitcoin must play a pivotal role in that fight to make the results they hope to see a reality.
This is a guest post by Trey Walsh. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.