For many blacks, cryptocurrency has been seen as one of the tenants of true economic liberation
In this news cycle, cryptocurrency seems to be the one thing everyone is talking about. It looks like society is suddenly being propelled into the future as we have seen nations begin to embrace a phenomenon known to many as crypto – the world’s newest medium of exchange.
The best way to describe cryptocurrency is digital currency, considering the many types of cryptocurrency as currencies with different uses. The one quality they all share is that they help create a richer digital experience.
The difficult part is understanding that cryptocurrency fluctuates quickly and can be volatile, attracting interest from investors and micro-investors around the world who are looking for ways to diversify their portfolios. Some experts think cryptocurrency is all about timing and crypto believers argue that silver and USD are archaic and really the inferior form of money… but are these investors right?
It is impossible to demystify the secret of cryptocurrency without answering the famous question: what is blockchain? Often discussed in tandem, many confuse the idea of cryptocurrency with blockchain, and others just don’t know the difference.
Blockchain is an incredibly secure decentralized technology (think of the root word crypto – as in encryption). The advantage of blockchains is that their technology is spread over many different computer operating systems, which arguably makes them more secure than existing payment systems.
Easily accessible crypto-wallets like Coinbase, Robinhood and Gemini, have facilitated the buying and selling of over 50 different cryptocurrencies. Gemini is particularly interesting because of its founders, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, who created the company in 2014.
If you’ve ever watched Social networkk, you will remember the Winklevoss Twins – the two brothers who infamously founded HarvardConnection, a Harvard campus social media network that predated Facebook. Although the Winklevoss brothers seemed to have lost the Facebook war, they continue to prove formidable opponents to Mark Zuckerberg in the “Metaverse” – to found one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges.
However, while the Winklevoss brothers used this and their other investments to propel them into the billionaire stratosphere with their rival Zuckerberg – cryptocurrency has always had a different meaning for blacks and browns.
For many blacks, cryptocurrency has been seen as one of the tenants of true economic liberation. In this case, it’s no surprise that black people were, by and large, at the head of the cryptocurrency boom. The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago reports that 46% of cryptocurrency holders are people of color, with 18% of those holders being black. These numbers make sense given the deep-rooted mistrust in the black community of government regulations and the wealth gap.
For many, cryptocurrency will serve as the great equalizer that education was once considered in this country. Accessibility is another reason for cryptocurrency’s success among the black community. Investors can buy cryptocurrency at an extremely low entry point – you only need a dollar to buy crypto, as you can invest fractionally in currencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum by buying a tiny fraction of the room.
This allows people with less disposable income to have fun when the stock market has traditionally excluded these population groups. But cryptocurrency has implications that extend far beyond just black America. Cryptocurrency has also become a force to be reckoned with at the forefront of the global community. This has made many economists wonder what crypto means for the global economy.
Akon may have been one of the first celebrities to openly discuss cryptocurrency and its ramifications, as early as 2018, when he declared his own cryptocurrency, Akoin. Akon noted that this cryptocurrency would guide Africa towards financial freedom and be the foundation on which its futuristic city would be built.
If Akon’s plan is successful, it would free the Senegalese people from the French-backed CFA (the national currency of Senegal and many French-speaking countries in West Africa). But Senegal is not the only African country interested in cryptocurrency. Nigeria quickly became the second largest market for crypto trading, after the United States.
Many Nigerians have found the use of cryptocurrency as a creditworthy way to protect their money against the depreciation of the Naira (which is linked to the USD). live internationally) and minimize costs and fees. The issue of remittances is a phenomenon that can be observed across the African continent and across the Atlantic in the Caribbean and Latin America as well.
El Salvador has led the Latin American cryptocurrency community, becoming the first country to accept Bitcoin as legal tender. The two president Nayib bukele and Maria Luisa Hayem, Minister of the Economy of El Salvador, are proud to have led Latin America in this innovative economic revolution. Despite their efforts, adoption has been slow, with just 12% of consumers using cryptocurrency since the adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender in September.
Yet not all countries have joined the hype, with China banning all crypto-related transactions and deeming them illegal. Crypto economist and lawyer Jamar Montgomery thinks this is because “open source cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are a threat to a government’s control over a monetary and financial system.”
As these governments desperately cling to what little financial control they have left, the rest of the world seems to be heading into a new era. Even though the infamous Los Angeles Staples Arena has been renamed and rebranded to reflect a new nickname, “crypto.com,” it certainly reflects the new era of cryptocurrency.
Wen-kuni Ceant is the CEO and co-founder of Politicking. She is a Fulbright scholar and thanks to the scholarship she has studied health infrastructure in Senegal for the past year. She received her Masters of Public Health in Health Policy and Management in 2016 from Drexel University. Prior to Drexel, she attended Howard University in Washington, DC, where she graduated from Phi Beta Kappa and with honors a Bachelor of Science in Biology.
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