If you ask 10 people what Bitcoin’s original purpose is, at least one person will say it’s meant to cut out the middleman, reduce the cost of transacting and empower those who might not have access to modern financial infrastructure.
While all of those boxes might be ticked, another phenomenon of financial technology, and technology in general, is that not everyone benefits equally from the revolutionary change it brings. Of course, this happens for a variety of unique reasons, some intentional and others unintentional, but the phenomenon of technological change leaving some people behind presents a rather unique question.
How can Bitcoin empower Black Americans?
In this week’s episode of The Agenda — a Cointelegraph podcast that explores the promises of crypto, blockchain and Web3, and how regular people level up and improve their lives with technology — hosts Ray Salmond and Jonathan DeYoung dig deep into the topic with Najah Roberts, an activist, educator and founder of several crypto-related organizations, including Black Bitcoin Billionaire, a brick-and-mortar Bitcoin exchange and a tech-focused children’s camp.
According to Roberts, Bitcoin (BTC) itself is the last great hope and opportunity for Black American empowerment; and for this reason, she has dedicated the last five years to spreading the good word of Satoshi Nakamoto and the basic tenets of financial literacy.
Bitcoin could be the road to freedom
As a base case for her raison d’etre, Roberts explained that:
“The Emancipation Proclamation was signed over 150-something years ago. And at that time in this country, Black people in America held less than 1% of the wealth. And here we sit, in 2022, and factually, Black folks in America own less than 1% of the wealth. [...] Bitcoin affords us the opportunity to have some self-sovereignty and to be able, for the first time in history, to have control of our money — because he who holds the money rules everything. And so if we are holders of our money, we’ll be able to rule our own lives. And I’m excited about that for our community.”
Roberts explained that financial self-sovereignty is paramount, especially in systems like in the United States where the tools and resources that lead to generational wealth creation have historically been denied to certain groups.
“We’ve got to get self-sovereign because nobody’s looking out for us except for us, and we got to get that in our head. And that’s what we’ve been teaching the community. So, Bitcoin is just the first stepping stone. Again, he who holds the money holds the power. And so we want to hold our own money so we have power to do the things that we need to do, not only in our families but in our communities. Because when it boils down, everything revolves around the economics.”
Related: Music NFTs are helping independent creators monetize and build a fanbase
Revolutions are not often televised
When asked about Bitcoin’s high volatility, the proliferation of scams in the crypto sector and whether or not it’s smart to advise people with limited financial literacy skills to invest in an emerging, risky asset like Bitcoin, Roberts hinted that the revolution would not be televised.
According to Roberts, literacy is the gateway to self-sufficiency, so her initial focus, and that of the digital underground, is to first help people understand the value of saving, regardless of how much they are able to save. She emphasizes concepts that revolve around compound interest and dollar-cost averaging, and in regard to volatility, Roberts reminds potential investors that time in the market is more effective than attempting to time the market.
“I am not teaching our community to time the market because time in the market is better than timing the market. So, I’m teaching our community to dollar-cost average. [...] Whatever it is that you are doing on a regular basis, continue to do that, but just add some satoshis to your portfolio. So, if you’re going to Starbucks seven times a week, I’m not telling you don’t go to Starbucks — I’m saying go six instead of seven, or five instead of seven, and take that $6 from that coffee and buy yourself some satoshis.”
To hear more from Roberts, tune in to the full episode of The Agenda on Cointelegraph’s new podcasts page, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or TuneIn — and be sure to check out Cointelegraph’s other new shows as well.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here and in this podcast are the participants’ alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.