A newly launched website, Coin Academy, says it is the first digital currency education platform to bring both original courses and curated materials together under the one roof.
Coin Academy co-founder, alternative economics expert Stephen DeMeulenaere, said, "The sudden emergence of digital currencies, like bitcoin, left the education and training market struggling to keep up."
"We found a number of good tutorials and interviews on the web, but we found a lot more poorly produced unprofessional pieces."
The company currently offers three original courses on bitcoin and digital currency use aimed at beginner users and merchants.
It also provides curated collections of materials from other sources around the web, covering subjects including digital currencies and value exchange networks, such as litecoin, dogecoin, peercoin, ripple and NXT.
All courses are free of charge and Coin Academy is currently using a donation model (via fiat, bitcoin or a selection of altcoins) to fund itself, but is also hoping to raise money from advertising and other sponsorships in future.
DeMeulenaere told CoinDesk:
"We know we need to generate revenue or we won’t last [...] It’s all about being able to source great content, so whatever it takes to make that happen is the bottom line."
Coin Academy's original courses consist of video tutorials with clear step-by-step instructions and plenty of visuals.
The course 'Digital Currency Ownership: Before You Begin' covers the basic concepts along with important security tips, through to setting up wallets and using exchanges.
DeMeulenaere said the company's priority was to help people get into the digital currency world, but the team also want to be able to satisfy those hungry for more and who already have basic knowledge.
Coin Academy is exploring the idea of taking submissions from other content creators, bringing in experts on specific subjects.
"As we expand our teacher roster, we hope to be able to dive deeply into specific topics with subject matter experts. But, to be honest, at the end of the day, we’re looking closely at our usage stats to identity the areas that attract highest levels of interest and will prioritize those."
While there are currently no assessment exercises upon completion of each session, each tutorial has a section for user discussion and interaction on that topic.
Collections sourced from elsewhere include video tutorials, podcasts, presentations, slideshows and documents that Coin Academy has deemed sufficiently high in quality.
Coin Academy is also looking to supplement popular topics like bitcoin investing, mining, dogecoin and ripple with original work of its own in the near future.
Coin Academy's other content creator and co-founder is Ric Shreeves, a web developer and author of a several books on open-source technology and content management systems like Joomla and Drupal. He also provides the voiceover for the firm's original tutorials.
When asked why the company chose to include external resources in its offerings, Shreeves explained that, before Coin Academy, there was the problem of digital currency learning resources being scattered around various websites and video platforms.
"It’s in everyone’s best interest that this information be easily available," he said.
"Stephen and I attended a number of bitcoin related events, only to see people struggle with the same basic set of questions every time."
Other online materials
Other sites, such as the venerable bitcoin.org, offer plenty of materials for bitcoin newcomers, though generally not in course form.
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