Jay-Z and Jack Dorsey bring crypto to Brooklyn's Marcy Houses, to middling effect

·2 min read
Jay-Z
Jay-Z


Jay-Z

Regardless of how meme-able the “crypto bro” has become, the archetype keeps finding its way into the hearts of new, impressionable billionaires—and now, two of them are hoping cryptocurrency will resonate with Brooklyn public housing tenants.

Per The Daily Beast, rapper Jay-Z and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey recently united to fund a 12-week “Bitcoin Academy” at the Marcy Houses, a public housing project in Brooklyn. The course was designed to instruct the ins and outs of cryptocurrency. However, with Bitcoin down nearly 10% in just the past few days, not every student is ready to rely on the currency’s volatility, especially those with lower incomes.

Read more

“How are you helping us if you’re asking us to put in five dollars, 10 dollars, and we’re all on fixed income?” inquires Lydia Bryant, 57, who says after the course she still felt like her money would be safer in “real stock.”

“For you to take your money that you worked for, or your government-assisted funds, and invest it in something like Bitcoin that’s really risky, that’s a no-win,” another source, who requested their name be omitted, also tells The Daily Beast. “I can’t be gambling with money that I get for my retirement.”

For those with concerns about losing hard-earned money, the academy offers a slight bonus—$1,000 in Bitcoin in exchange for completing the 12-week session. Regardless of the prize, not everyone shares Bryant’s skepticism on the actual payoff—Danny Craft, 56, another graduate of Hov’s crypto academy, says he was thoroughly convinced after initially thinking Bitcoin was a “scam.”

“I come to find out, you’ve just got to know how to work it,” Craft says. “When you put money into it, you just let it sit there and you let it grow.”

Student Matthew Powell echoes Craft’s sentiment and elucidates that the class truly didn’t try to skirt around the risks and dangers of a fluctuating online currency.

“The class wasn’t telling them… ‘Yo, take your life savings and convert it into Bitcoin,’” Powell says. His own main takeaway from the coursework? “Take something, put it there, and just let it sit.”

Regardless of whether Bitcoin convinced everyone, Jay-Z’s personal connection with the Marcy Houses gives any endeavor he brings there an extra shine. Jay-Z grew up in Building 524 of the housing project and has consistently given back to the New York Housing Authority through his Shawn Carter Foundation. Although billionaires giving back is a relatively low bar for praise, Jay-Z’s influence hasn’t been lost on Marcy’s current tenants.

“He is so good for our people,” tenant Jessie Mackey, 63, says of the rapper.