In this lesson, students were challenged to think outside the box. With Odyssey sophomore and senior student defenses in full swing, students have been practicing the art of reflection. As we transition from the study of ecosystems to the study of human body systems, we briefly returned to our study of financial ecosystems (lesson 3). Students were introduced to the idea that our existing financial system is limited when it comes to integrating the value of natural resources. We watched economist Pavan Sukhdev’s TED Talk “Putting a value on nature” where he explains the economic tools he uses to integrate natural resource valuations into his economic models.
We then transitioned to a discussion of cryptocurrencies as an alternative to traditional fiat currency. I shared the final tally of the various eco-themed cryptocurrencies donated by generous members of the public in support of my biology students. Students had previous elected to consolidate our crypto holdings into dogecoins, and I shared the news that each student could elect to receive either 5,650 dogecoins (currently valued at just under $3), $3 cash, or a free yearbook valued at $7. About half of the students elected to receive their share of donated cryptocurrency, and I encouraged them to visit the Getting Started page. Some students elected to set up accounts through Cryptsy, while others chose to receive their coins via the @tipdoge feature on Twitter. Several students asked how they could spend their cryptocurrencies, so I explained that many retailers accept various currencies, including my good friend Bo Saxbe, operator of the Cheese Wizards sandwich truck. A local news station recently profiled Cheese Wizards as part of a larger story about the first Bitcoin ATM to arrive in Seattle. The cryptocurrency ecosystem is rapidly evolving, and it will be exciting to observe whether cryptocurrency will take hold and find a niche in the modern economy, or whether it will go extinct.