Crypto & Blockchain
Cryptocurrency is a digital asset and form of exchange. It differs from traditional currency in that it does not exist in a tangible form and is not issued by a central authority. Crypto aims to ameliorate the common issues of currency through this decentralization and placement of power into the currency holders’ hands. Some of the notable benefits of crypto include its immediacy, anonymity, security, and wealth storage capability.
One of the ways that cryptocurrency is stored is through a specific type of database known as blockchain. Essentially, blockchain is the record keeping technology behind the currency; decentralized blockchains maintain a permanent record of transactions that are viewable to anyone. In a blockchain network, all users collectively retain control. The removal of the central authority component also reduces risk levels and removes many transaction fees.
Potential for Empowerment
Bitcoin was first introduced in 2009, and since then the world of crypto and blockchain have amassed large amounts of attention for the potential they hold for individual empowerment. As it became mainstream, blockchain was imagined as a “great democratizer,” allowing users to transfer value without the need for institutions to serve as a middleman (Tinianow). However, the technology has fallen short of its vision with its low percentage of minorities and women involved. Anna Ashurov, the co-founder of Diversity in Blockchain advocates for the harnessing of blockchains full potential — being used to uplift underrepresented groups and aiding them to grow and accumulate wealth. She shares that “we have a responsibility to encourage diversity, break barriers, and force a conversation” (Tinianow).
The Black/White Wealth Gap
At Simple X, we strive to help bridge the gap between Black professionals and the workforce. In addition to our vision of talent parity, we believe it is important to acknowledge and address the racial wealth gap that exists within the United States. The typical African-American family in the U.S. has 10 times less wealth than the typical white-American family. The median white household net worth is $100,000 to $200,000 whereas the median for African-American households is only $10,000 to $20,000 (Mineo). Historical and present discrimination and structural racism have strongly impacted the ability of Black and minority communities to accumulate generational wealth. This leaves these groups with unequal access to opportunities (such as higher education), a potentially decreased quality of life, and a diminished ability to respond to disasters and crises.
How Crypto Can Be a Bridge
We believe cryptocurrency and blockchain are an important under tapped resource for the Black community. Through their ability to empower individuals, they serve as a valuable resource to encourage financial independence and help to close persistent racial gaps.
Mineo, Liz. “Racial Wealth Gap May Be a Key to Other Inequities.” Harvard Gazette, Harvard Gazette, 17 June 2021, news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2021/06/racial-wealth-gap-may-be-a-key-to-other-inequities/.
Tinianow, Andrea. “Bombshell Report Finds Inclusion Lacking in the Blockchain Industry.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 23 Dec. 2019, www.forbes.com/sites/andreatinianow/2019/12/23/bombshell-report-finds-inclusion-lacking-in-the-blockchain-industry/?sh=322e0474a9e1.