Digital Financial Literacy
As the world moves inexorably towards becoming a cashless society, old-fashioned piggy banks are losing their appeal. They also fail to take into account the blockchain and cryptocurrencies. That’s where the London-based Pigzbe digital piggy wallet comes in.
Co-founder and CEO of Pigzbe, Filippo Yacob, a Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree, believes that traditional piggy banks need a reboot to keep up with changing times. The result was the creation of Pigzbe, a cryptocurrency wallet that features an interactive app for kids aged 6 and older.
In an exclusive interview with The Scope Weekly, Yacob said, “We created Pigzbe to give an extremely easy entry point into the world of cryptocurrencies, for both parents and children. We’re making Pigzbe friendly, frictionless and fun precisely to help parents and families take a small step in the space, and slowly learning alongside their children.”
The concept behind Pigzbe has been in development since 2015, but wasn’t incorporated as a business until January 2018. The company plans to deliver the product and platform in Q2 2019.
In a white paper, Yacob also said, “Learning about money early is key to developing positive financial habits, but it will be impossible to do in an increasingly cashless society, and with current banking products.”
Similar digital savings apps tend to hinder the progress of young savers with high transfer fees or limit access to certain digital services to only specific geographic locations. Pigzbe was created as a solution designed to improve digital financial literacy in children, at the same time as engaging them to learn more about how their actions and decisions can affect their financial futures.
What Is Pigzbe?
Pigzbe is designed to act as a digital piggy bank that teaches kids to save money. But the app is far more than just a piggy bank. It’s a ‘piggy wallet’ for children designed to teach kids to earn money through rewards and to spend their digital cash wisely.
The piggy wallet is powered by a decentralized blockchain ledger and uses a family-friendly cryptocurrency token known as Wollo. The white paper released for Pigzbe describes the piggy wallet as an “age appropriate learning experience for children, while enabling families to come together as microfinancing networks.”
The intention is to enable parents to give pocket money or reward certain behaviors in children with Wollo tokens. The wallet itself is managed by the parent. Grandparents are also encouraged to participate in the Pigzbe environment, with the ability to gift or reward certain behaviors of grandchildren with Wollo tokens.
How Does Pigzbe Work?
Pigzbe uses a tangible product, combining a physical wallet device with a companion smartphone app. The Pink Pigzbe is a hand-held controller that can also be used as a gaming device to control Pigzbe inside the app.
The app is intended to enable children to play within an immersive environment. They learn to save, exchange, and spend the money they earn. Pigzbe provides a number of earnable tokens with each purchase of the device for referring other family members to use the app, thus increasing the number of participants who engage in their inter-familial network. The controller also provides children with visual feedback off-screen.
The Black Pigzbe acts as a cold storage device for adults designed to keep Wollos safe. Purchasing the wallet costs around $60 for the hand-held controller and the interactive app. The purchase price includes 200 Wollos, so you’re ready to get started teaching your kids the financial lessons you want them to learn.
As children outgrow the app’s gaming experience, the wallet is designed to act in the same way as any other secure cold storage wallet.
Should Parents Teach Kids about Cryptocurrency?
Yacob says, “The truth of the matter is, parents don’t have much of a choice if they want their children to have a good grip on the modern financial system.”
“When you think about it, a 1p or 1c coin has very little value once inside a piggy bank. You can’t see how much that coin is worth against other currencies or goods. You can’t model how much that coin is worth if you had 100 of them, or how much it could be worth over a period of time if you saved regularly. Traditional piggy banks are based on the idea of Victorian thrift. They are as good as stuffing money in a mattress, or burying it in a ditch; it goes nowhere.”
“What makes Pigzbe so exciting is that it unlocks what a 1p or 1c could do once saved, and by making the experience digital you get a lot more out of it!”
Former PayPal CEO, Bill Harris, recently published his very public opinion that he believes bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are “the greatest scam of all time“.
When asked how he felt about Harris’ comments, Yacob said,
Of course PayPal CEO would say that. Cryptocurrencies have eaten his lunch, and are about to eat his dinner.
“Sales efforts at Pigzbe are already doing well, with thousands of units already placed by global distributors, and mounting interest from others. We’re already very confident we can prove strong global demand at launch.”
Teaching Kids Digital Financial Literacy
Yacob explains that “Pigzbe is a financial literacy product, as opposed to a savings product, where children and parents can enjoy a deeply educational experience without having to invest much. To that effect, fluctuation in the price of Wollo doesn’t actually affect the gaming experience, or the learning.”
The interactive app features games that revolve around saving and spending. Parents can transfer Wollo tokens from their own accounts into those of their children as rewards for completing chores or to give them pocket money.
Kids can also set tasks for themselves within the app, which can be rewarded by family members with tokens. The intention of allowing children to set their own tasks and then strive to achieve them is to encourage entrepreneurial thinking.
Yacob says, “For children, the game evolves on a weekly basis, and their world becomes more engaging as more Wollo is earnt and saved. As the child is sent Wollo from a family member, it emerges as a cloud, and rains down, which produces their weekly ‘money tree’, which grows according to how much the child plays the game and the amount of Wollo they earn.”
Children are able to buy and pay for products in the real world with the money they’ve earned. However, their digital Wollo tokens first need to be converted to fiat currencies using a Wollo card.
The Wollo card is a payment card designed to allow children or parents to transfer Wollo to various different fiat currencies. The card can then be used in the real world to pay for transactions made online or offline with selected retailers.
Keep in mind that parents are able to implement parental control restrictions. When pre-programmed correctly, children are prevented from purchasing certain adult items, such as tobacco, alcohol, adult entertainment or online gambling.
Wollo (WLO) tokens will be issued by an initial coin offering (ICO) that opens to the public on June 13. The tokens will be available to trade on SDEX in July.
There is a fixed supply of Wollo, with 675 million Wollo token created in total. The inability to generate any further Wollo tokens after the ICO means zero inflation in terms of supply and no possibility of holdings being diluted with future increases in token supply. Being a part of a decentralized network also means Wollo are publicly auditable.
Yacob confirms that pre-sales of Wollo have already begun. He said “We’re aiming to raise a total of $11.1 million, and we’ve already gathered enough in our private pre-sales to ensure platform and product delivery in Q2 2019.”
Due to regulatory restrictions, American and Chinese citizens are unable to participate in pre-sales of the Wollo token or the ICO. Only accredited investors are able to partake in private placements of securities. American citizens can purchase the Pigzbe app and controller once the ICO is completed and the tokens are publicly available for trade.
Volatility in Cryptocurrency Pricing
While the theory behind the Pigzbe app and teaching kids about financial literacy is sound, it’s interesting to consider how the traditional pricing volatility in cryptocurrencies will affect young children. Imagine explaining the concept of market volatility to a child who believed they had $100 in savings, only to learn their cryptocurrency savings might only be worth a few dollars today.
When asked about the potential volatility of Wollo prices, Yacob said “Wollo is a cryptocurrency that is designed for in-market use, meaning a high level of utility and constant turnover, rather than a store of value currency. For this reason, we don’t anticipate it seeing as much volatility as other coins.” He added, “Having said that, what children can do inside the game with Wollo doesn’t really change, whether the price of Wollo is $1, $10, or $100. For children, the digital realm of games is real, and matters to them! 9 out of 10 games today have in-game currencies, for example, Roblox. Parents and children spend a lot of money to purchase a mock currency that has no value in the real world, but the simulalcra in which children use it matters to them. We’re not reinventing the way children play with digital money. We’re just improving it and giving it more purpose by giving it a value, and when things have real value, people’s attitudes toward them are different.”