Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple coins with soft portrait lighting

Coverage ideas: Making money on new technologies

Several new marketplaces have emerged or matured in 2021, bringing technologies and new opportunities to make money along with ethical concerns. 

Key question: Are the risks associated with emerging cryptocurrencies and other digital investments worth the reward?

  • What do students and adults in your school know about cryptocurrencies and NFTs? What can you do to help them understand these emerging marketplaces?
  • How has information about these emerging technologies been incorporated into your school’s curriculum or extra-curricular clubs?
  • Have any of your students participated as investors or creators?
  • How do members of your school community feel about the energy consumed in developing and supporting cryptocurrencies?
  • At a summer camp, juice boxes and bitcoin mining (NBC News, July 2) — “Over five days, the [Crypto Kids Camp] combines activities that would be common at any summer camp with a crash course in how to think about, buy and even mine bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.”
  • What Are NFTs, Anyway? One Just Sold for $69 Million. (The New York Times, May 12) — “‘Nonfungible tokens’ and blockchain technology are taking the mainstream art world by storm, fetching huge prices. We explain, or try to.” 
  • Cryptocurrency’s Newest Frontier (The New York Times “The Daily” podcast, April 13)
  • The climate controversy swirling around NFTs (The Verge, March 15) — “Individual pieces of crypto art, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), are at least partially responsible for the millions of tons of planet-heating carbon dioxide emissions generated by the cryptocurrencies used to buy and sell them. Some artists — including those who have already benefited from the craze — think it’s a problem that can be easily solved. Others think the proposed solutions are a pipe dream.”

The list reflects what I have read, heard and seen in my own media diet, so it comes from my perspective. Chicago is also over-represented because that’s where I live and work. The list is not meant to be comprehensive or exclusive of other ideas. Many of the stories were covered by multiple outlets, but links here lean toward sites available without a subscription, particularly nonprofit news sites like NPR and The 19th.