It's Tuesday in New York City. The birds are chirping, the grass is green, and Uniswap Labs is headed to the eighth annual NY Computer Science Fair. The NY Computer Science Fair is the state's largest career inspiration event with over 2,000 high school students interested in pursuing a career in computer science.
Before we set up shop, our team gathered in the Uniswap Labs office to ensure we had all the materials for our booth:
Computer monitor. Check.
300 bags of cotton candy. Check. 😎
Of the hundreds of companies present, Uniswap Labs was one of only four Web3 companies to attend the fair. Our goal wasn't to recruit any high schoolers - there are only a handful of t11s's in the world. We were there to educate and introduce them to Web3.
Most students who came to our booth had heard the words “crypto” and “NFTs” before but didn’t understand their use cases. Instead of teaching students about elliptic curves, the double spend problem, and byzantine fault tolerance, we focused on the benefits blockchains unlock. One example that resonated with students was buying and selling Fortnite skins. Players grind hard to earn items like skins, weapons, and accessories, but cannot buy or sell them without secondary markets. In Web3, players own their digital assets. They can be bought, sold, moved, and traded without asking for permission from anyone else.
Students were quick to understand the value of digital ownership and exchange. After all, these kids are internet natives. The natural next question was, even if digital assets could be owned, how could they be traded? We talked a bit about how Uniswap was a marketplace for digital assets. However, unlike centralized marketplaces, we explained how any could create a market for a token without needing permission. Uniswap is built on a blockchain, and blockchains don’t discriminate. They aren’t controlled by anyone and allow you to participate as equals.
Reinventing the financial system to remove intermediaries, increase transparency, and move onchain will require decades of hard work. A long-term approach means recognizing the work doesn’t end with us.
The next generation of developers, designers, writers, and more will go on to create financial, economic, and data infrastructure on the internet. To cultivate that future, we must educate students about how blockchain lays the foundation for a better financial system — one that is inclusive, fair, transparent, and self-custodial.