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Author Topic: Bitcoin for kids  (Read 3554 times)
Steve
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June 10, 2012, 02:54:07 PM
 #1

I was thinking about allowances, awards, and such for my kids…in the past we've used a regular bank account, this has proven to be a hassle and incur silly fees.  The point was to teach them about banking, but given the hassles, we just started keeping track of a balance outside of a regular account.  I'd also like the kids to learn about virtual currencies.  In particular I'd like them to get accustomed to securing a wallet and sending and receiving bitcoins.  However I don't want them using real bitcoins until they're a bit older.

At first, my thought was that it would be great if there was some software that worked basically like Bitcoin, but uses a centrally issued coin (no blockchain, etc).  I could issue them and they could use them or redeem them if they wanted to buy something, etc.  I thought of open transactions (and maybe I'll still look into), but I really want something very simple that works very much like a typical Bitcoin client works (with similar a addressing scheme, etc).

My second thought was maybe I should use Bitcoin, but scale it down such that 100 satoshis can be redeemed with me for 1 bitcoin.  But then I have the issue of having yet more copies of the block chain.  Are there any clients that support running one node in the house, but allowing multiple other wallets on other computers to connect to it (so that I only need one copy of the block chain for them)?  A second issue is that such small value transactions may take a long time to confirm (and might be considers spammy…a fee wouldn't work because the fee would be worth more than the few satoshis themselves).  I think I would want to avoid using web wallets…all of the ones I know about seem to be unsuitable for one reason or another.

The ideal here would probably be a version of the bitcoin client that worked with a centrally issued coinage and block chain.  It would be nice if it even simulated block generation every 10 minutes like the real Bitcoin system, but of course didn't actually use processing power to secure it…I'm fine just having a computer in the house that is the central authority.

(gasteve on IRC) Does your website accept cash? https://bitpay.com
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MaxSan
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June 10, 2012, 03:18:38 PM
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have you not considered just generating a new genesis block on a computer and run it like that? the difficulty will be low so im sure one computer can generate blocks (mite be slow? i think minimum difficulty is *something* above 100..)

Maybe you can just use Litecoin or something in the same manner as bitcoin (wortha fraction of the value so not so bad if it all goes wrong)

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June 10, 2012, 03:22:13 PM
 #3

I'd show them how to use Bitcoin using testnet and upgrade to the real Bitcoin client later. Just give them some small amounts.

Maybe it looks better for your kids if you change the following setting:
Settings→ Options → Display → Unit show amounts in: µBTC / mBTC
payb.tc
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June 10, 2012, 03:26:37 PM
 #4

Maybe you can just use Litecoin

that's what i was going to say... even 0.01 LTC confirms pretty quickly and isn't worth very much.
Raoul Duke
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June 10, 2012, 03:33:05 PM
 #5

I think what you are looking for is Electrum. If you don't want to trust an external server to get the blockchain data you can have your own STRATUM(blockchain) server

Relevant threads:
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=50936.0
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=55842.0


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June 10, 2012, 03:44:39 PM
 #6

You can set up a 'testnet-in-a-box' which is a private testnet running off one server. Think of it as setting up a centralised 'SteveCoin'.

You can then connect to it using any client that supports the testnet (I think that is all of them as that is typically what the devs use when they are testing it).

The thread in which Mike Hearn gives the details of it is here:
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=4483.0

It has a very low difficulty.

If you set up your local testnet, you can give your kids 'play money' but they will be using the exact same tools that they would use when they move to real bitcoin.

Their friends can also connect to the same server so they can swop and trade their SteveCoin as they like. Edit: This assumes the testnet-in-a-box server has a fixed IP address.

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jim618
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June 10, 2012, 03:57:27 PM
 #7

For MultiBit for instance to connect to a testnet-in-a-box that you are running on a server with IP address, say, 1.2.3.4 you would put this configuration in the multibit.properties file:

Code:
singleNodeConnection=1.2.3.4
testOrProductionNetwork=test

It would then run completely as normal but everything would be using your SteveCoin.
I expect all the other clients would be something similar.

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June 10, 2012, 04:11:48 PM
 #8

1.  there's nothing like using "real money" (i consider Bitcoin to be real money) to teach kids the value of saving.  pay them a good bit of interest each month (like 5%) and they will really learn the value of saving even tho its not what they'd get in a bank and even tho they're young.  there's no better money for small tx's than Bitcoin.

2. http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2012/05/owen_on_parenti.html

3. i think Multibit is the closest thing to a stripped down local client that only downloads headers or something like that i believe.  it won't take too up much space on their computers.

4. sounds like you don't want your kids to have internet access in general on their computers which is understandable.  maybe disable their browsers or set up blocks on your router while they run Multibit.

can't have those kids hanging around websites (or homes) with hot chicks in bikinis running around...oh wait. Wink
Steve
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June 10, 2012, 06:20:01 PM
 #9

I've setup private testnets many times (we use them for pre-production testing of bitpay).  The problem with those is that it only takes a small configuration slip up by any one of the nodes and the whole block chain will get whacked by the real testnet.  On our testnet servers I've had to very carefully configure iptables to ensure only specific nodes are allowed an inbound connection.  I once messed that configuration up and despite being careful about the outbound connections, somehow another node on the real testnet managed for find the server and connect to it.

Still, this is a good idea.  Maybe something could be built on top of the testnet support to make this easier…it would be nice to simply specify the ip address of the central node and the client establish a block chain specific to that node (that wouldn't get whacked if you accidentally connected to another testnet node or another node running a private chain).  It would also be good if it could do block generation, but where it's configured to only use say 0.5% of the CPU for hashing and no other nodes are allowed to hash.  This would be kind of like a third mode of operation…privatenet.

(gasteve on IRC) Does your website accept cash? https://bitpay.com
Steve
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June 10, 2012, 06:24:52 PM
 #10

1.  there's nothing like using "real money" (i consider Bitcoin to be real money) to teach kids the value of saving.  pay them a good bit of interest each month (like 5%) and they will really learn the value of saving even tho its not what they'd get in a bank and even tho they're young.  there's no better money for small tx's than Bitcoin.

2. http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2012/05/owen_on_parenti.html
Thanks for the link!  It looks good.

Quote
3. i think Multibit is the closest thing to a stripped down local client that only downloads headers or something like that i believe.  it won't take too up much space on their computers.
I think I may play around with Multibit on a private testnet…that might do the trick.

Quote
4. sounds like you don't want your kids to have internet access in general on their computers which is understandable.  maybe disable their browsers or set up blocks on your router while they run Multibit.

can't have those kids hanging around websites (or homes) with hot chicks in bikinis running around...oh wait. Wink
They have internet access…but on a DMZ,  with parental controls, and in a common area.  Regarding the chicks, I think you have me confused with Tony.  But, of all the things on the internet they might see, girls in bikinis isn't one I worry about.

(gasteve on IRC) Does your website accept cash? https://bitpay.com
Kris
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June 10, 2012, 07:11:45 PM
 #11

Great idea, how about making a "Kids only" wallet (payment processor)? Like with vibrant colors and what not, and have them accumulate balance there?
Bees Brothers
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June 10, 2012, 07:22:31 PM
 #12

Funny kid story.
Last Saturday at a market, my 6 year old daughter did a wonderful job teaching people about bees using an observation hive that we brought.
We paid her $10 + lunch.  She took the $10 and looked at me like I was a scamming jerk and said "I don't want dollars, I want bitcoins!"
....She got two bitcoins.

We work together in keeping spreadsheets on everyone's investment proportions.  The kids have some btc CD's and GLBSE stocks.
It only took one time comparing their bank account monthly interest and the weekly interest with btc for them all wanting to dump their Federal Reserve Notes for btc (had to show my wife twice).  Spreadsheets are really good to show the effect of compounding interest as well.  Pick a date in the future, like a birthday, and they can quickly see how much they will have.  Also a good way to show them how debt works.

Got home Friday, and one son presented a plan to sell a few of his coins, convert them to dollars, and then to Euros, and buy a video game that he has wanted for a while.  I helped him through the process and a little over an hour later, he had his game.  It was paid with earnings from his btc investment interest.

We don't do allowance.   They have to earn the benefits of food and shelter with doing simple chores and doing their school work.  Once their basic work is done, then they can play or earn dollars/btc/silver/or bullets.



These topics about kid wallets are very interesting, thanks for bringing up this discussion.


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MaxSan
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June 10, 2012, 07:55:55 PM
 #13

depending on your children's ages they will probabaly outsmart you on this if you trade up Litecoin for real money at larger than its value (once they google litecoin and work out how to buy an extra 1k for a very small amount you may be shocked at the next "bill")

Id donate 100 to a random kid who comes on irc and asked for it for this purpose. For pure lulz value ofcourse Wink
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June 10, 2012, 08:09:16 PM
 #14

Yes, and when at their next birthday party they and their friends are all discussing FPGA implementation algorithms you know they are part of the Bitcoin Generation.

Birthday boy/ girl to friend:
'Agreed, we should dedicate more silicon to ECKey generation as that is the bottleneck in our sims. Pass the strawberry ice-cream please'

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June 10, 2012, 08:41:57 PM
 #15

I'd give them bitcoins, and then teach them about investing and maybe they would make some money  Wink

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June 10, 2012, 09:33:20 PM
 #16

GLBSE + Bitcoin or even just BTC/USD exchanges are a great way to learn about markets. So much better than "pretend you own this stock magically and we'll see if it goes up or down" which is how 'investing' was taught to me.

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June 10, 2012, 10:08:11 PM
 #17

This may be a bit technical but there is a Virtual Mining game that allows you to "buy" and set up virtual mining rigs mentioned over at:

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=77833.0

There web site is http://www.virtualminer.eu/

It was a cunning plan to have the funny man be the money fan of the punning clan.
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July 01, 2012, 09:14:48 PM
 #18

waiting until they are older may be a worse time for them to start using bitcoin because of the advanced socialization. Now, all they have to deal with is dad. This has been working out great with my kid since 2010 (they are 10 now). They've had Bitcoins on their phone since the andreas android client has been out. When they want to buy something at walmart, or wherever, they send me bitcoins and I pay with my fiat. they've learned how to check the exchange rate, do conversions, use different wallets as different accounts, and even keeping offline wallets for security and savings.

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July 01, 2012, 09:18:24 PM
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waiting until they are older may be a worse time for them to start using bitcoin because of the advanced socialization. Now, all they have to deal with is dad. This has been working out great with my kid since 2010 (they are 10 now). They've had Bitcoins on their phone since the andreas android client has been out. When they want to buy something at walmart, or wherever, they send me bitcoins and I pay with my fiat. they've learned how to check the exchange rate, do conversions, use different wallets as different accounts, and even keeping offline wallets for security and savings.

^this post made my day  Grin

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July 02, 2012, 12:20:22 AM
 #20

waiting until they are older may be a worse time for them to start using bitcoin because of the advanced socialization. Now, all they have to deal with is dad. This has been working out great with my kid since 2010 (they are 10 now). They've had Bitcoins on their phone since the andreas android client has been out. When they want to buy something at walmart, or wherever, they send me bitcoins and I pay with my fiat. they've learned how to check the exchange rate, do conversions, use different wallets as different accounts, and even keeping offline wallets for security and savings.

^this post made my day  Grin

Yup, made my day too! Grin

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