The famous Stanford Marshmallow Experiment takes the orange pill during a study of 25 school kids on the Isle of Man.
A Bitcoin (BTC) experiment on the Isle of Man involving the Lightning Network, 25 schoolchildren, and a promise of a milkshake has yielded interesting results.
At Willaston School on the Isle of Man (a British Crown Dependency nestled between the United Kingdom and Ireland), 25 year-6 students, one teacher and one teaching assistant participated in the light-hearted Bitcoin study.
MSW, a Data Analyst at CoinCorner, told Cointelegraph that he visited the school to discuss job opportunities and to inspire the kids, discussing his own career path which spans nuclear reactor study, data analytics and now, Bitcoin. Inevitably, the talk delved into the Lightning Network and CoinCorner's new creation, the Lightning-enabled Bolt Card.
“I talked a bit about Bitcoin, went through the Freddo index – how the price of a Freddo is exploding – then showed them the pound money supply over time and then asked them what they knew about Bitcoin.”
A familiar character in most Brits’ childhoods, the Freddo is a humble chocolate bar shaped like a frog. When introduced to greengrocers’ shelves at the turn of the millennium a Freddo cost just 10p ($0.13). In 2022, Freddo costs a whopping 27p, as shown by the following index:
Despite their young ages of 10 or 11, the kids knew of Bitcoin and some of its properties. One bright spark came up with the 21 million hard cap and overall, the classroom’s sentiment toward Bitcoin was positive. At one point, MSW was even asked if buying nonfungible tokens (NFTs) is a good idea. He set them right before gifting each pupil a Bolt Card loaded with £5 credit (21,554 Satoshis or $6).
The Bolt Card is a first-of-its-kind Lightning Network-enabled card that allows near-instant payments at merchants accepting BTC. The Lightning Lunch story demonstrates how it works in detail.
Crucially, however, MSW included an important caveat as he gifted the card to the kids. “I sort of posed it as do you want to hodl or do you want to spend?” Having explained the deflationary, number go-up technology that enshrouds Bitcoin, MSM also showed the class where to spend their Satoshis if they so wished. Gourmet Shakes, a Bitcoin-friendly milkshake shack was a mouthwatering proposition.
MSW knew full well that the Bitcoin trial was reminiscent of the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment, a pop psychology trial from 1972. In short, the experiment attempted to understand delayed gratification in kids by offering the choice between an immediate reward or a greater prize if the children waited a period of time. The reward was either a marshmallow (hence the trials’ name) or a pretzel.
The “Isle of Man Satoshi Milkshake Experiment”–which maybe doesn’t quite have the same ring to it–yielded intriguing results. Of the 27 participants, just five people have spent their Satoshis, meaning 22 are Bitcoin HODLers.
In addition, as the experiment took place on May 29, the £5 of Bitcoin is now worth around £3.70 at the time of writing. If they want to spend their Bitcoin on a £3 milkshake, they need to act now!
MSW jokes that, unfortunately, the kids are too young to have a CoinCorner account. But the experiment is worthwhile in terms of promoting Bitcoin adoption and demonstrating that spending Bitcoin is easy. Plus, it ties into a growing subcategory of Bitcoin culture, from Bitcoin children’s books to educational tools for kids to understand sound money.
The Isle of Man is fast becoming a leading European Bitcoin destination. Around 40 businesses now accept Bitcoin on the island of 85,000 people, Molly Spiers CoinCorner’s head of marketing and communications told Cointelegraph:
“We’re on a mission to make it [Isle of Man] a Bitcoin Island–have people come over and live on a Bitcoin Standard. Hotels and accommodation are ones we’re missing at the moment though.”
As for the milkshake experiment, MSM suggested that it’d be worthwhile to take a trip to see the schoolchildren before the end of this year to see how they’re HODLing, and to demonstrate how to sweep the Bitcoin from the card if they so wish.