As under-funded and over-worked as they are, teachers could use as much help as possible to help kids grow into their full potential. It’s for that reason that the software company Ripple gave away $29 million of their own cryptocurrency to Donors Choose, a website where teachers can crowdfund projects and get money for anything from school trips to classroom materials.
Because cryptocurrency can be converted into “real” dollars, Ripple was able to fund projects and give help to more than 28,000 classrooms across the US. According to Donors Choose, that means about one in every six American public schools is benefiting from the massive donation.
So what is cryptocurrency? As its name suggests, it’s a digital currency that uses cryptography to regulate and verify transactions. Comedian John Oliver put it best when he described the entire system as “everything you don’t understand about money combined with everything you don’t understand about computers.” Despite the fact that it’s digital, it functions a lot like most regular money or commodities: it has value simply because we say it does.
While Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency, it is by far not the only one. Hundreds exist, including Ethereum, Dash, and Ripple. Since its rise in notoriety, cryptocurrency has been teetering on the brink of a potentially massive bubble burst. Lots of people are now investing a lot of money into a currency that’s not backed up by hard tender like gold, and that has created more than a few scares.
This doesn’t mean too much to the teachers who benefited from Ripple’s donation, though. Once the cryptocurrency is converted into dollars, it’s no longer subject to the unpredictable ups and downs of the digital market. In other words, the cryptocurrency bubble could pop tomorrow, and companies like Bitcoin and Ripple could implode, but the $29 million that the teachers got is, thankfully, safe.
Looks like the teachers got their money at the right time, too: Just one day after the news of Ripple’s donation broke, the companies value plummeted to its lowest level all year.