By Scott Blair
Crypto has become a hot topic in the past decade, and it’s getting more and more press every day. People seem to be either “all-in,” don’t want to go near it, or mildly curious about the phenomenon. Wherever you come down on it, it’s certainly something to keep an eye out for.
At first glance, it’s similar to Wall Street and the stock exchange. Therefore, you’d think it’s strictly for the white-collar community with a user/investor base that is the same as you’d find on the NASDAQ floor. However, that’s not the case, and here’s why.
What is Crypto?
Since crypto is still relatively new to most Americans, let’s briefly discuss what it is.
The simplest way to think of crypto is that it’s like a stock. You have a crypto-coin or token that gains or loses value due to market fluctuations or people buying and selling it. Here’s a more technical definition:
“Cryptocurrencies operate on blockchain technology, a decentralized network spread over many computers. The value of the currency is based on supply and collective demand, and not backed by the federal government or items of value — with the exception of stablecoins. Thousands of digital currencies have sprouted up since bitcoin — perhaps the most well-known cryptocurrency — was created in 2009.”
The most well-known would be Bitcoin, of course. Many people think crypto, and bitcoin are the same, but they’re not. Bitcoin is a form of cryptocurrency [or crypto]. There are thousands of different cryptocurrencies, most of which you’ve never heard of. After Bitcoin, the most common forms of crypto are Ethereum, Litecoin and Tether. There are up-and-coming coins like Doge, Locker Token and CUDOS.
Crypto Can be a Life Changer
Crypto certainly changed the lives of twins Penelope and America Lopez. Their parents lost their jobs when the pandemic hit and were about to lose their home. However, the Lopez twins invested in Bitcoin early on and were able to pay off one of the two mortgages on their parents’ home for $100,000 with their Bitcoin earnings. The sisters also invest in non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and recently cashed out half of their original earnings on a $300 NFT investment, which came to $90,000.
Cleve Mesidor, founder of the National Policy Network of Women of Color in Blockchain, says, “When you have been locked out of the system, when you haven’t had pathways to create generational wealth, you see this as an opportunity. You’re going to tell your community about it and you’re going to find ways to optimally use it to ensure you cannot just build wealth for your community but build wealth for the next generation.”
However, it should be stated that nothing is a guarantee; Darrick Hamilton, professor of economics and urban policy at the New School, says, “It is true the traditional financial system has not provided access, and frankly exploited Black people. But the remedy isn’t to turn to another vulnerable system, however well-intended it may or may not be. The remedy is a public sector that ensures they have access in an equitable way.”
A Practical Solution to a Longstanding Problem
Isaiah Jackson, who wrote the book Bitcoin and Black America, has a poignant take on the subject. Jackson sees Bitcoin and other forms of crypto as a way for the black community to even the financial playing field. If you walk into a bank and ask for a loan, you can be discriminated against in many cases, whether it is by the color of your skin, your physical appearance, or even if you have a certain accent. It happens every day; however, with crypto, it’s blind.
Jackson told Forbes Magazine, “Bitcoin is censorship resistant. It cannot be taken or stopped. It is also scarce, which creates a value proposition. Currently it is a store of value, at some point it will be a medium of exchange and then later, a unit of account. That is what our dollar is now, a unit of account and medium of exchange and it is similar to a stablecoin. A stablecoin is the digital representation of one dollar.”
Jackson says, “Unfortunately we live in a system where our dollar has been devalued, over 99% since 1913. Even though we consider it stable, it does have volatility and inflation has contributed. Bitcoin is deflationary and encourages saving not spending and that is why we have seen the increase in value of Bitcoin over the years. The volatility of Bitcoin scares some people away, but however, as a savings account, it is the best-performing asset of the last decade.”
While scarcity is good in a way, it can also scare people away. However, it’s starting to gain mainstream traction. There are nearly 37,000 Bitcoin ATMs worldwide and 260,000 Bitcoin transactions per day; crypto still isn’t widely accepted enough in forms of payment.
Build Wealth, Build Self, Build Community
“Build wealth, build self, build community” that’s the slogan for The Black Wall Street. The Black Wall Street is a digital wallet and exchange that allows you to learn about financial topics within cryptocurrency and the like. It aims to be the digital continuation of the physical Greenwood district, which is most noted as the Black Wall Street, a place where Black people thrived prior to a massacre from an angry white mob and government-sanctioned airstrike.
Black Wall Street and Black Cash Matters
“For far too long, our lives did not hold weight. That is beginning to change. Now, the next frontier is rally around the truth of Black Cash Matters. Our dollar is powerful, and we believe that many industries, companies and entities do not believe that it does, yet they reap the benefits of our hard-earned money going into their products or services. We plan to change this and make sure that people know that Black Cash Matters” – The Black Wall Street
A Sense of Hope
Whether you believe in crypto or think it’s a fad, the fact is it’s most likely not going anywhere. Even with the inevitability of US and governmental sanctions on crypto, the dam has already cracked, and it’s only going to crack further until it bursts, and the majority of the world is using crypto with ease. The goal is to use it to your advantage and as a tool to provide financial security while also providing leverage for the future.