Funding Friday: Pigzbe

A friend sent me this Kickstarter project earlier this week. I took a look and thought “wow, that’s so great. a digital piggybank for kids with its own cryptocurrency, a mobile app, and educational games teaching them to earn and save.” I backed it this morning and though I don’t normally take the rewards on Kickstarter, I did this time. I can’t wait to give this to a kid when I get it this summer.

#blockchain#crypto#Games#hacking education

Comments (Archived):

  1. aminTorres

    Great to see when stuff is designed well.

  2. awaldstein

    Love this.Would also like a referral to anything out there where I can for example put in $100 a month to an account for an 18 year old for them to invest in crypto through it. I provide a seamless source and they play as they want.(Thanks to all with input. Someone might get a cool bday present because of your input!)

    1. Adam Sher

      Can’t you just wire money into someone’s Coinbase account? I think I read Robinhood is (or will) offer crypto options.

      1. awaldstein

        i want simple.set it up so i can do this automatically and can others.she is turning 18 so an adult now!

        1. Adam Sher

          Robinhood app lets you set up automatic and recurring deposits. I haven’t used Robinhood for any serious amount of time so I can’t relate much experience beyond setting it up, linking bank accounts, and navigating around the app. I do spend a lot of time reading about investing apps, and have used others for years. Based on my understanding of Robinhood, it should do what you want.My concern about all investing apps, particularly in your use case, would be control over the deposits. You may want to set up a new checking account, in which you deposit the $100 / mo and then the new checking account is the account that will fund the investing app. Since all of those funding steps may be performed automatically, it shouldn’t create additional hassle for you.

          1. LE

            I’d stay away for Robinhood for this reason alone (which I had read and questioned the day I read it and then viola it was retracted):(Below from wikipedia on Robinhood…)In June 2018, it was reported that the company was in talks to obtain a US banking license, with a spokesperson from the company claiming they were in “constructive” talks with the U.S. OCC.[28] In December Robinhood announced checking and savings accounts, with debit cards in partnership with Sutton Bank, to be available in early 2019. Robinhood initially claimed the accounts would be SIPC insured, which the SIPC denied. The products were rebranded as “cash management” the next dayWhat I will call the ‘firewall’ idea (separate account) is correct. And honestly I would not let a ‘move fast and break things’ company anywhere near my normal bank accounts (in any way shape or form of access).

          2. Richard

            What is also troubling (and the SEC for alowing it) is that prior to placing orders they sell their order book to high frequency traders.

        2. LE

          Unclear what is difficult about using coinbase if the idea is ‘they play as they want’.Adam Sher’s advice is correct. You want a firewall account that the money comes from not whatever you would consider your ‘main’ account. Obviously most banks allow you to setup automatic online transfers. So the idea is the firewall account holds, say, $600 (6 mos.) of money and automatic transfers from that go to the coinbase account or if possible coinbase is setup to pull. Then every 6 mos. you auto transfer $600 from your main account to the firewall account. Pick any amount you want it can be $100 per month if you like extra lines on your statement.

  3. kidmercury

    thumbs down on apps targeted towards kids < 11. jonathan haidt has a great twitter thread on this:

    1. Adam Sher


    2. Adam Sher

      On a related note, I enjoyed this discussion between Ezra Klein and Anil Dash on the biases of tech. To me, this kickstarter product hits on a lot of the notes they discuss.

    3. sigmaalgebra

      Is what they found a spurious correlation? That is, the people started with those problems, which were the root causes, and, then, gravitated to high screen time? What about people in some careers who spend 6+ hours a day looking at screens — do they have such problems? Why does looking at screens cause more problems than looking a paper, nature scenes, the opposite sex, ….?Causality or even non-spurious correlation can be tough to determine.

  4. Adam Sher

    Conflating putting money in crypto currencies and savings is a disaster. If you want to teach someone about gambling and speculation, sure. If I am charitable in my assumption as to why this campaign exists, then this campaign is a misguided attempt to educate kids in personal finance. If I am not, then this campaign is purposefully misleading about what it’s doing and is harmful.This campaign is a double-entendre for lipstick on a pig.

    1. fredwilson

      Obviously I disagree. I think having a currency they like and value will help kids learn good habits around money

      1. Richard

        Your comeback is very disappointing! Shame on you. You can disagree and still admit you are wrong. The poorest communities spend on avegage $200 per person per year on lottery tickets, but don’t have $500 in savings. The first thing poor kids see is their parents purchasing these tickets. Shame on this woman, she is much bettter off teaching her kids to go the library and read a book like “one up on wall st”.

      2. LE

        Good habits with money comes from making kids realize that they need money to buy things that they want. Part of the problem with that lesson now is that kids (I have younger stepkids but also kids your age) don’t want things like we did back when we were growing up. Literally they don’t see the value of money because they don’t need money to buy them anything.Partly because they have so much entertainment and partly because they have so much love so they have less need to escape the house (reason they have little interest in cars by the way). My stepson was in zero rush to drive. Me? I was driving before I was 16 and got my license literally the next day. It was the greatest thing in the world to me.My guess is someone like you had a difficult time when you were growing up being able to buy an awesome stereo to listen to music on when your parents weren’t at the house (I had Ohm d2 speakers and a great system which I had to make money to buy). Also you probably were pretty glad to be able to drive so you could escape boredom from being at the house and not being able to watch tv. What did my Dad do? He would pay for say 1/2 of anything and 100% if it was something that he thought would be beneficial in some way and educational. Something like music he would pay 50% so it was not unattainable and I had skin in the game. Photography? Sure he probably and smartly bought the darkroom because I could make money from that. And he was right. That philosophy did the trick for me. My sister wanted to go to college for a few years in Italy (unheard of at the time). My dad said he wouldn’t pay for it. So she worked and made the money herself and was there for 2 years of college. That is the way it used to be. You know this, right?Even if this doesn’t describe you exactly I can assure you it not only described me but pretty much everyone that I knew growing up.

        1. Richard

          There is no more important financial literacy issue for teens to understand than compound interest and the difference between PV and FV. I spend 30 minutes each week giving a free lesson to a random security guard about these issues. If they understood that have the greatest financial power of all, Time, they would work with a smile rather than with FOMO.

      3. Adam Sher

        I think a core point to our disagreement is over what a cryptocurrency is. In my view, putting the word currency into another word doesn’t make the new thing equivalent to USDs. A stable crpyto:USD relationship is very much implied in this product’s video. We won’t probably bridge the difference until the crypto market matures.We are in agreement that financial literacy is a critical life skill. We also probably agree that gamification is a powerful tool in getting people to engage with a topic. You spend way more time thinking about and funding educational tools than I do. There is no doubt that your framework for quickly understanding the gist of these tools is better developed than mine.My question is what do kids need to know about finance? As a follow up, can that knowledge be taught through games? As an adult, the finance paradigm is that you have to understand your cost of living, earn at least that much in post-tax dollars, and create savings mechanisms to cover expected future expenses, unexpected expenses, and discretionary expenses.The research I’ve read is that financial literacy courses taught in schools are not successful on average. Is it because many of those lessons aren’t relevant until much later, and so the information isn’t retained? Is gamification of the chores + allowance paradigm better than the old fashioned way? Or is it something else. In this realm, I’m skeptical of solving the problem of financial literacy by throwing more technology at a problem that is exacerbated by technology.

      4. Michael Brill

        I think you’ll end up being right… there is no technical reason why the assets need to stay in Wollo. It’s essentially free to convert between any Stellar asset, including fiat-pegged stablecoins. You can see a kid learning pretty quickly about risk and portfolio management, and how the company could be the Robinhood for kids pretty easily.Of course they can’t pitch this yet because they need to get people excited about Wollo for an ICO. But even if you assume Wollo drops 90% of its ICO value, the model still works because of underlying technology.Long Stellar.

        1. Richard

          When is someone going to name their coin FOMO? Now that’s somethig to throw a full $ at?

    2. kidmercury

      i agree with you though will say that often the best way to learn about money is to lose it, especially in traumatic fashion. i’d prefer to teach my kids about money in a more conservative manner, but i myself learned largely through trauma (priceless as the lessons were, i do hope i’m done learning that way! 🙂 ). i think trauma works best when it comes via self-undoing, but to each their own, i suppose 🙂

      1. Adam Sher

        Perhaps the ultimate expression of that lesson is incurring $200k+ in student debt to attend a mediocre post-secondary school. I wonder how to create a game to avoid that!

        1. JLM

          .Get an Army ROTC scholarship?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      2. Richard

        To each their own never made sense to me. Why is it that “the science first crowd” applies it to everything except those things that “they politic for”. Buffet started saving and reinvesting his paper route earnings in income producing business at age 14. This is the equivalent of science.

        1. kidmercury

          to each their own, because many paths lead to the truth.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            “To each his own” because commonly we don’t know better, don’t have solid information or criteria, and because there can be multiple objectives with different ultilities. Also, likely most commonly people just want an excuse just to do what they want, get from their gut, or feel good about.

      3. LE

        Learning by losing is at the core simply learning that you have to be careful.Which is what you should be doing in the first place (as opposed to reckless and throwing caution at the wind type patterns). It’s like when you get into a car accident. Then you are more careful next time. That is the impact. The truth is you should be careful all the time. You should always think. Maybe you will make a mistake but it shouldn’t be because you didn’t have a reason for your decision.Here is a non financial example. For the life of me I don’t understand people who get out of a car (like my wife and just about anyone I have ever driven) and then they walk right in front of the cars bumper. Makes no sense to me. Walk ‘right in front’ of the cars bumper. Why not walk either to the rear of the car (a distance) or in front but far in front. Not next to the bumper. Why do you need to be hit by the car to ‘be careful next time’. Maybe you should just think in advance what makes sense. Another (car example) is don’t let anyone out of the car unless the car is in park. Or if you are a passenger make sure the car is in park prior to getting out of the car. Common sense. If you did get out of the car and it moved next time you wouldn’t do that right? Did you ‘learn a lesson’ or did you simply do what you could have thought and predicted in the first place.Obviously there are going to be edge cases and you can’t think of everything that might happen (which will lead you to ‘be careful next time’). But what I have observed about people over the years (and I have done a great deal of observing) is that they typically don’t think as they should be doing and they do stupid things. (Plus they ignore advice from elders right off the top instead of at least considering how they may be right and not wrong).

        1. sigmaalgebra

          “Measure twice, saw once.”One reason I want math to be the crucial core of my startup is that, IMHO, mathematical proof is the most solidly correct knowledge in our civilization. The knowledge is so solid that there is a famous paperE. Wigner, “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences”that has to hint that, shockingly, in some sense we could say that in effect “God is a mathematician”.To be clear, the core of such math is theorems and proofs and not mere calculation. And for applications, have to pay close attention to the assumptions of the theorems. So, by analogy, math can take you from one island to another and maybe get you to your destination — results you can use. But you still have to have assumptions to get you to the first island.Math with theorems and proofs saved my tail feathers from grade 9 through Ph.D. and several times in my career. E.g., in English and history, the teachers could give me a “C for style” with no explanation of anything I’d done wrong. But in math, nearly always I had the proofs correct, and then the teachers and profs had to give me a A. At times in my career, I was able to do novel, valuable things, and that there was solid math there meant that my results got accepted.

      4. JLM

        .Best way to learn about money is earning it doing backbreaking physical work.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      5. Jim Peterson

        Re:“I hope I’m done learning that way”Aren’t we all!

  5. Michael Brill

    Great experiment (and another win for Stellar) that has to end badly.What is the message to kids when the value of their savings isn’t easily tied to their contributions? In a bull market, their piggybank swells, leaving them with the impression that they earn money by doing nothing. In a bear market, no matter how hard they work, they lose. That instils a pretty desperate view of the value of work imo. (Of course there are other issues: lost devices, private keys, etc.)Can’t help but think basing it on stablecoins already running on Stellar would have made a much better product… although where’s the ICO dough in that?

    1. Filippo Yacob

      It all depends how you use the product.My 5 year old now makes his own bed every morning because he wants 5 WLO. He doesn’t know how much it’s worth, he’s not really saving for anything, but he know he gets a cool reward, make his piggy happy, and rain down a cloud on his app when he does things around the house… as a parent that’s a win.In terms of Pigzbe as a savings product, the future of Pigzbe is multi currency. Centralised and decentralised. You will be able to save in the currency you are most comfortable with, and still enjoy the service, learning and interaction the product afford you and your family.

      1. Michael Brill

        Ha, I changed my mind as per my response to Fred above.I agree with you. Being able to move assets between volatile and less volatile addresses my primary objection.

  6. LE

    I was 100% onboard until I saw this further down the page:Like any other currency it can go up and down in price. Fluctuation is an important financial concept to learn (the dollar does it, the pound does it) so introducing children to this idea with very small amounts of money, is a useful lesson. Seriously? An important financial concept? For kids? In the US? Comparing crypto (in this sense) with the dollar or the pound?This (if they actually ‘learn’ that) will only create unnecessary anxiety and that assumes the concept is even grasped correctly.If you give a child a dollar for a task they pretty much know they will have a dollar to spend later. Finding out that the wollo that they earn has lost value (or for that matter gained value) will not encourage them to spend or manage money that is compatible with the way the current (dollar) financial system really operates.I guess my issue is how they market this as an advantage instead of correctly noting it for what it really is. It sounds like typical corporate marketing spin which is probably not what they intended.

    1. Filippo Yacob

      This is a graph for the price of the Great British Pound sir. Pigzbe Creator – Filippo Yacobhttps://uploads.disquscdn.c…

      1. LE

        Thank you very much for your useless reply which doesn’t indicate scale or time frame.

        1. Filippo Yacob

          My point is that every currency fluctuates, some more than others, weather centralised or not. So does the stock market, and so does the value of the goods and services we buy and sell on a daily basis, in everyday interactions. After Brexit, overnight, my Toblerone bar got smaller, while I still paid the same price for it. What I offer you today may have less value to you tomorrow depending on the circumstances. At HQ, we think that’s a valuable lesson, but it’s ok if some don’t

          1. LE

            First I want to apologize for the ‘tone’ of my reply to you.That said in no way should you compare the price fluctuation of a currency like the US Dollar or British pound with crypto or the stock market. To do so is like saying that ‘all foods can go rotten and spoil’. Sushi you leave out for two days is not bread (or pick an example). The frame of reference is vastly different. The lesson ‘foods spoil’ is specific to a food. Learning that crypto varies (the way it does) is not the correct frame of reference for US currency variation which is what matters. And once again I don’t think that it’s a lesson that a child needs to put in their head at this age.When I was growing up (a long time ago) it was conveyed that in Israel (a country my father did business with) ‘you pay for your restaurant meal when you arrive because by the time you leave with inflation it has gone up in price’. (I have no clue if that is correct but I remember it to this day). So I get the point. But knowing that back then (as well as shrinking portion size) was not relevant to my understanding of the value of the dollar in our country.I have noticed both back when I was growing up and today shrinking sizes. This is because companies have increased costs and feel that they can’t charge more for their product. This doesn’t change my outlook which is always ‘make as much money as you can because prices will always rise over time’.

          2. sigmaalgebra

            “Shrinking sizes”: Yes, noticed yesterday that the last bag of sugar I bought was 4 pounds instead of the usual 5 pounds. Bummer. I bought it at a local grocery store. One more reason to shop at Sam’s Club.

        2. sigmaalgebra

          Right. It is trivially, very simply, rock solidly, literally, true, for any curve that is not just exactly a constant, it is possible to pick an interval and a scale that makes the curve look aw wild as desired. So, a wild looking curve without careful attention to scale is like the NYT: On paper can’t compete with Charmin and on the Internet useless for wrapping dead fish heads.The usual newsie work with graphs is an example of the usual for newsies, to communicate shocking emotion but not information. Maybe from the newsies people believe that such nonsense graphs are meaningful and acceptable — they are not.

  7. Filippo Yacob

    I’m the creator of Pigzbe (As a product), and CEO + Co-founder of the company. I see a lot of scepticism in the comments, which I think is a very good thing. Most of the points made are fair, and are addressed in the details of the product and it’s interactions. We’re marketing the basics in our campaign. Communicating the biggest parts in the shortest amount of time. All I can say is wait for the release, and if we made you all a crappy product, shame on us.

    1. Michael Brill

      It’s hard not to be cynical after the past couple years. You could, for instance, make WLO fiat-backed and reduce the volatility objection everyone has. But then you don’t get all of the free ICO money. It seems pretty clear that you will have to address volatility through support of multiple currencies, which in turn reduces demand for and value of WLO. But that’s the risk the ICO investor takes, not the end user.In light of that, I *really* like the product. Luckily I have a 23 year old with the financial literacy of your 5 year old, so I’m heading over to Kickstarter now.

  8. Semil Shah

    Better than a lot of crypto projects, actually.

  9. fredwilson

    No I had not. Thanks!