February marks Black History Month – a time to commemorate and learn about the Black community, heritage, and culture. This year, the theme for Black History Month is Black Resistance, honoring and recognizing the resistance to Black Americans’ historical and ongoing oppression and acknowledging such movements as Black Lives Matter to address systemic racism.
In honor of Black History Month and in line with this year’s theme, CoinStats is covering the Black Resistance to Black economic disempowerment and the synergy between black economics and blockchain technology.
Gerald Ford was the first president to officially recognize Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
Since then, we’ve been using this opportunity to celebrate iconic Black figures who achieve excellence, create change, and educate us about the importance of coming together to fight racism. From civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X to authors like Ralph Ellison and Maya Angelou to artists such as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, and many more Black people made outstanding contributions to our society, advancing civil rights, culture, science, sports, etc.
As we commemorate another Black History Month, it’s a good time to learn how Black Resistance benefits from blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies and read up on Black history trailblazing icons who have helped drive cryptocurrency mainstream adoption to make the world a more inclusive, accessible, and progressive place.
- Most Black people view cryptocurrencies backed not by an incumbent authority but by blockchain technology as a way to earn money while resisting centuries-long oppression patterns.
- Crypto inclusion is their sole access to generational wealth without relying on a central authority’s permission.
- Black people invest in crypto to resist the wealth-crippling effects of redlining and zoning practices driving public funds away from their communities.
- Black history trailblazing icons have helped drive mainstream cryptocurrency adoption to make the world more inclusive, accessible, and progressive.
Overview of Black People’s Involvement in the Cryptocurrency Industry
The results from the survey, conducted by Grayscale in partnership with The Harris Poll, show that Black Americans (31%) are more likely to own crypto than white Americans (16%). Cryptocurrency boasts financial inclusion and is touted as a tool for equality, transparency, and fairness. So can it help Black people resist structural racism and solve the wealth gaps that have historically held them back?
The core reason for the synergy between black economics and blockchain technology is that most Black people view cryptocurrencies backed not by an incumbent authority but by blockchain technology as a way to earn money while resisting centuries-long patterns of oppression such as the wealth-crippling effects of redlining and zoning practices driving public funds away from their communities.
They view crypto inclusion as their sole access to generational wealth without relying on a central authority’s permission. Investing in crypto is black people’s way of choosing a globally accessible, open, and permissionless alternative that places financial autonomy in the hands of sovereign individuals’ hands instead of any sole intermediary.
Moreover, they choose to invest in digital money that can’t be altered, debased, or entrenched due to their traditional distrust of the conventional banking system.
What’s more, investors can get started with as little as $10!
Isaiah Jackson, the author of “Bitcoin and Black America,” characterizes traditional banking as a racist banking system and describes the concept of redlining, where banks would in the past literally draw red lines around communities that they wanted to avoid making loans.
Black History Crypto Heroes
Here are some Black people who have contributed to the innovation and/or adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrency.
- Isaiah Jackson is the author of “Bitcoin and Black America.” He believes to have found a solution with the new digital currency that originated in 2009 to the age-old problem of money, power, and racism in the United States of America.
- Equity Coin is a Black-owned cryptocurrency project that buys affordable housing units all over the country. At the same time, token holders get the rights to property cash flows.
- Russell Okung, a Pro Bowl tackle for the Carolina Panthers and a proponent of cryptocurrency, was the first National Football League player to collect a portion of his check in cryptocurrency. Okung received 50% of his $13 million salary in Bitcoin using Zap’s Strike product. His Twitter bio is “life, liberty, and #bitcoin.”
- Najah Roberts is a crypto entrepreneur and educator focused on closing wealth gaps in the Black community. She operates a brick-and-mortar crypto exchange that’s making crypto more accessible to the unbanked.
- Olayinka Odeniran is the founder of the Black Women Blockchain Council (BWBC), which provides Black women worldwide with educational resources to understand blockchain and build wealth. BWBC has partnered with Ethereum software company ConsenSys to launch an online program to train half a million Black women globally to become blockchain developers by 2030.
- Meta has launched the “Metaverse Culture Series” to make the metaverse a space for Black culture and creativity to thrive. Gabe Gault, the first Artist and VR Creator in Residence, has built “I Am A Man,” an immersive experience that pays homage to prominent Black figures like Dr. King, Rosa Parks, the Tuskegee Airmen, etc., to bring Black history alive.
- One / OFF and Super Rare showcase and sell NFT art for thousands of dollars in virtual display rooms.
The Promise and Peril of Crypto for Black Investors
Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies empower Black investors to address inequality by helping remove many traditional barriers to acquiring, storing, and transferring wealth.
However, while cryptocurrencies have the potential to meet Black consumers’ expectations, they also pose risks to privacy and financial security. Let’s look into the challenges and barriers Black investors have been encountering over these years.
- While we’ve been building towards a more equitable future of technology with an increase in the number of Black entrepreneurs over the past years, still only 2.3% of US businesses are Black-owned, according to the Census, and with spectacularly high failure rates.
- According to the National Venture Capital Association, only about 3% of all venture capitalists are Black. Moreover, Black entrepreneurs only received $1.8 billion (1.2%) of the record $147 billion invested in U.S. Startups during the first half of 2021.
- Black people who invested in crypto were hit disproportionately hard during the recent crypto winter.
Despite these challenges, many Black founders and investors remain optimistic about the crypto sector’s potential for the community. According to a Kansas City Federal Reserve report published in 2022, most Black investors believe the wealth gap could be closed through investing in cryptocurrency. Crunchbase data shows that funding for Black web3 founders has only increased, and the crypto winter proved the most fruitful year.
Finally, according to data from TechCrunch, it appears that investors are also in some ways bullish on Black founders, a change of tune in how Black startups have been funded.
Let us know your favorite Black History Crypto Hero or a Black-owned crypto business you love in the comments below!
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