After hearing about bitcoin in 2013, former IT professional and computer engineering teacher Isaiah Jackson educated himself about the popular cryptocurrency.
Jackson eventually became a bitcoin consultant and gleaned much from his own experiences. Now he wants to teach other Black people how to improve their communities by using bitcoin. He penned “Bitcoin and Black America” to help accomplish this feat.
In a recent interview with Anthony Pompliano on the “Off The Chain” podcast, Jackson discussed “why he wrote the book, how Black America is treated differently by the financial system, and how Isaiah believes bitcoin can help change.”
A lot of things happened that pushed him to write the book, Jackson told Pompliano. “A lot of the pushback I got, along with some of the clients I had, that gave me a good background knowledge on how bitcoin is really gonna change the world and may be able to change to my immediate community, the Black community. That was what gave me the inspiration for the book.”
Jackson said he first learned about bitcoin from bitcoin bull Max Keiser, founder of Heisenberg Capital.
While he admitted there was a learning curve before he could be successful with bitcoin, Jackson said he is convinced that the cryptocurrency is a lucrative way for Black people to level up.
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Here are 10 reasons to buy and read “Bitcoin & Black America.”
Though bitcoin has had its ups and downs, it has been on the rebound recently, leaving skeptics questioning their doubts. Along with blockchain technology, Jackson believes it is the wave of the future and he doesn’t want to see Black people left behind.
“The next wave of innovation is, I believe, centered around blockchain technology and of course bitcoin as a payment system. So when I say ‘miss it’, what I mean is economically. If you want to be viable as a community you have to have some sort of technological expansion to ensure that survival. I think this is one way to do it, not just from a price standpoint (buying bitcoin) but also from a technological standpoint — building the products that we’ll use in the future. That’s what I mean by the Black community not missing it this time around,” Jackson said.
Black people are less likely than their Hispanic and white counterparts to have either heard of, or know a lot about, bitcoin according to a 2014 study by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors and the Massachusetts Division of Banks, The Atlantic reported. It is an issue Jackson said he is all too familiar with.
“Demographically, going to a lot of meet-ups, I was literally the only Black person there a lot of times,” Jackson said. “I would hate it because I didn’t want my community to miss the next big technological innovation, like the internet. We sorta missed that. A lot of times I would go to meetups and I would be like a fly in milk … and I would hate it because I would say, ‘Hey it’s such a great opportunity, why isn’t my community more involved?”
Jackson shares his personal journey as a Black person entering the Bitcoin space. The book highlights issues that affect Black people specifically and how bitcoin can be used to help remedy those problems.
“Educational materials definitely come first. I think lot of people, they jump headfirst into the space … they’re really optimistic and thinking, ‘Hey I can make a lot of money.’ So the first thing I make sure I do is education. I’ve written three starter guides along with this book, that I hand out for free, as well as tutorial videos online, dozens of hours of that … That’s the first thing I do: make sure they’re educated. Because there’s no way at this point in the game you can just dive in headfirst and just go for it. You gotta have that background.”
A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Jackson said he was intentional in using the KISS (Keep It Simple Sweety) approach with “Bitcoin & Black America.” He explains bitcoin – which can be overwhelmingly complicated to those who are not versed in it – in a manner the average reader can understand. He even said he kept the book short for a reason.
On Amazon, a reader identified as S. Wells called the book a “great intro into the blockchain/crypto space.”
“What I like about Zay’s book is the simplicity of the langauge, his story and examples,” Wells wrote. “I believe it will be more helpful in crossing people over into the space. Too many of the books out get too far into the tech or too far into the economic schools of thought. The everyday person doesn’t care about those things. I think this book does just what Zay states as his intention on the YouTube channel, “The Gentlemen of Cryptos”, and that is bridging the gap for the people. I constantly tell people new to cryptos and blockchain technology about this book.”
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According to Jackson, “Bitcoin & Black America” is more focused on providing solutions than harping on problems.
“I realized that a lot of the problems in the Black community have been written about a lot towards the last year. What I wanted to focus on was a solution-based book,” Jackson said. “It doesn’t harp on a lot of the past issues. … I wanted to absolutely make sure that I have a way for people to read and take it and actually apply it to their life, not just sit around and discuss what could be, what we could do … I’m a pretty straight-forward person and I definitely wanted to make this book like that. (It’s) straightforward. Read it and let’s get to work.”
One reader who left a review on Amazon underscored Jackson’s point, writing, “I loved the way the book started with Isaiah’s personal journey & led to different solutions for the Black Community to integrate bitcoin into their businesses & everyday life.”
Jackson added, “A lot of the problems that are discussed in the Black community can be solved so a lot of the back-and-forth is a waste of time. I think people need to realize that.”
In his book, Jackson details both the historical and current discrimination practiced in banking institutions against Black people. He is clear in pointing out that discrimination in traditional banking is not a thing of the past, but still affects many Black people today.
“In the Black community, one of the things we’ve noticed historically … is the fact that redlining kept Black people from purchasing real estate in certain areas, as well as loans being denied, even though you may have the exact same credit score or better … I use all those examples throughout the book and specifically I use examples from the last five years. I think some people get it confused. When people say ‘racist banking practices’ … This isn’t some old, Jim Crow, 1962 stuff. No, we’re talking about 2015 up to now,” Jackson said.
“These banks have gotten sued and kind of brushed it under the table. … That’s what happened with our community. A lot of people think, ‘Oh, they’re the banks, they run everything.’ But there is another option for us and I think with our history, we don’t really owe them anything. … I had to direct it to the Black community so they know we do have a problem with how we’ve been treated by banks. … Bitcoin doesn’t discriminate at all. There’s no human error. It’s math instead of humans, which I prefer,” Jackson continued.
Despite bitcoin’s fluctuating value, Jackson said the cryptocurrency is here to stay and Black people shouldn’t be afraid to invest in it.
“The biggest thing I want people to take away after you read ‘Bitcoin & Black America,’ no matter what community you come from, the first thing I want you to realize is that bitcoin is not going away. I think a lot of people in my community and others, they were fooled by the media,” Jackson said. “I’ve heard, ‘I thought bitcoin died’ so many times in the last year, it’s ridiculous. It’s not some fad, it’s not a bubble, it’s not a Ponzi scheme. This is something that is going to change everything. So do what you can to get a part of the industry and help build it.”
When asked what pushback he gets from Black people when trying to garner their interest, Jackson said the media has misrepresented how viable bitcoin still is.
“(The media) is one thing that I’ve had to push back against a lot. A lot of the people in the Black community, I try and relate it to them by telling them, ‘Hey, when you watch the media, do you think that Black people are represented correctly?’ And it’s almost overwhelmingly ‘no’ almost every time,” Jackson said. “They’re trying to condition you into thinking that something’s wrong. It should be a match made in heaven because as Black people, we should realize the media does not care about us at all so the message that’s out there is not correct.”
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who is an avid cryptocurrency fan, endorsed Jackson’s book on his platform Saturday, tweeting that Jackson’s interview with Pompliano was “excellent.” In addition to tagging Jackson in his first tweet, Dorsey sent a follow-up tweet telling people how to purchase the book.
Up until last year, Jackson gave readers an opportunity to visit his website to become members of his affiliate program and earn money by selling the book. He wanted to pay it forward while getting the message out. The book is also available on Amazon and Kindle and is coming to audiobook soon, Jackson said. The website also has merch available for sale.