Last summer, Kaede Takenaka was having lunch with her mom and her friends in a restaurant. They were talking about adult stuff and mentioned cryptocurrency, blockchain and different projects and how to solve problems. An enthusiastic Takenaka asked them where all these coins came from and if she can have her own coin.
“And I got my own coin,” Takenaka tells e27. “We created a coin on the NEM blockchain. The very next year, I taught how to do it to Master’s students.”
A Grade IV student at KIS International School in Bangkok, Takenaka is the Co-founder and CEO of KIDLetCoin, a blockchain platform for kids to learn all about blockchain and fiscal management. She believes kids taking control of their own financial education and learning about disruptive technologies early are the keys to their success.
KIDLetCoin was started by Takenaka as a hobby because she had not much time to invest as she was busy with academics. So she did things in her spare time with the help of mother.
“KIDLetCoin was started as a way to make kids learn about cryptocurrencies by doing chores and getting coins in return. In the beginning it was designed as a system wherein parents could take coins back or not release them if the kids were not doing their chores or for being naughty. But we gave up on that idea later,” continues Takenaka. “In the current form, KidLetCoin enables kids to earn KID coins for chores, or reaching new learning goals in reading/math, etc. Kids can use their KID in an online store to buy stuff.”
The startup’s ultimate goal is to create a global network of kids, who will work together on blockchain projects and educational products.
Despite her achievements at this very young age, Takenaka doesn’t consider herself a prodigy. She says she learned all about crypto and blockchain from her mom, who is working for NEM Foundation. Takenaka goes to all blockchain events along with her mom. Besides, she watches a lot of YouTube videos about this technology.
“I’m just a normal kid. I love to read and always have books around. I also love Minecraft (a sandbox video game) and finding ways to do Minecraft mods and building a Piper laptop kit. This is how I got interested in tech,” she clarifies.
KIDLetCoin also has a few people on the team, but since it was her own brain map and idea, Takenaka took on the role of the CEO. “My mom helped and so did some of her blockchain friends, but they don’t want publicity. As the head of the company, my roles are to go out and tell people about the project, invite kids to help and learn, and try to learn more coding.”
The inspiration to start the project came from the class room. “We use the International Baccalaureate system and this year we did UOI (unit of inquiry) about entrepreneurship. Everyone in class had to make a business,” she shares. “This was started as a passion project.”
Takenaka has a lot of plans with this project but she doesn’t want to talk about just yet. She has however made it clear that the company will not do an ICO, ever. “I will do my best with KIDLetCoin, and hopefully make it successful.”
In her spare time, Kaede likes to read books, watch gaming YouTube videos, write short stories, and play sports. She also dances and plays music. In future, she also wants to be a doctor.
As for funding, initially it was all her mom and her friends who funded everything and still fund things. Takenaka also has a few more private investors helping with the minimum viable product.
What are the major challenges you are facing? “Well, it can be difficult to be taken seriously as a kid. I also get tired of school. But I think its a big opportunity to help kids learn about blockchain, and I want kids to join me and learn too,” she concludes.
Takenaka spoke about blockchain and cryptocurrencies at Techsauce Global Summit, which was concluded on Thursday.