While legendary investor Warren Buffet debunks cryptocurrency, Visa is making waves with the announcement of a Bitcoin debit card. Like it or not, the transformation of currency is happening before our very eyes.
Paradigm shifts and interest in cryptocurrency continue to grow. The sector seems to be dominated by Caucasian interests, judging from the stock photo of the hand holding the new Visa card, the panelists at digital currency conferences and the journalists who act as gatekeepers, deciding what news and events are newsworthy. One might assume that those most interested in crypto come from the mainstream demographic.
However, a new study demonstrates what many of us have known within our communities: Black Americans on average are more interested in cryptocurrency than previously positioned.
Coinbase, a secure platform that enables trading of digital currency, recently did a survey that perfectly coincided with Black History Month. It partnered with Qriously to ask 5,126 people age 18+ in the U.S. and U.K. about their attitudes and experiences with the current financial system, forecast, and level of interest in crypto.
Once tallied, the results showed:
Essentially, Black Americans lead the charge when it comes to interest in understanding the crypto space.
This could be for a number of reasons including the fact that the sector basically talks over this powerful demographic, or not having anyone on their team to create truly organic marketing campaigns and events. Also, many Black Americans are still rebuilding from the past mortgage crisis and believe that because of their race, that they are negatively impacted by current financial systems. The relative anonymity of digital currency just may make this offering a winner among Black Americans.
Black Americans make up only 3 percent of conventional mortgage applications — the lowest of any racial group — yet face the highest denial rate, according to a Zillow report. The numbers show about 25 percent of Black people are denied as opposed to 10 percent of white Americans, most likely thanks to algorithms built with massive biases.
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Essentially we are talking about trust. In the blockchain, trust is more-or-less built-in, obliterating other parameters and making them obsolete. It is much more difficult to deny someone a loan, for example, on a platform that doesn’t require disclosure of one’s racial identity or any other factor around identity. This financial system allows evaluation based on digital reputation and transaction history.
Not surprisingly, the Coinbase survey also shows that Black Americans also have a more optimistic view of technology — 58 percent agree that tech has a positive impact on society and can provide a way to solve many of the world’s problems.
By contrast, fewer white Americans — 39 percent of — are optimistic about tech. This is a massive opportunity, not only for those targeting market segments for crypto-related products but also for the community itself to take charge and ensure a seat at the table. Winners in the future will be those who innovate right now.