The digital currency—popular among a mostly white, mostly libertarian contingent—might prove useful in communities where it’s relatively difficult to secure a loan or transfer money.

lead_largeEdwardo Jackson will gladly drop a Bitcoin primer on anyone who’s curious. Beyond his outer enthusiasm for the digital currency—when he talks about Bitcoin, he speeds up as if discussing a newly-discovered oil reserve in his backyard—he loves trading it and tracking its movement in the markets.

In 2013, Jackson, a 39-year-old Las Vegas-based pro poker player and former writer for Upworthy, started spreading the gospel of the currency via his blog,Blacks in Bitcoin, where he claimed that he would “spontaneously combust” if he had no other outlet to voice his obsession with the digital barter.
“Can you imagine what it would have been like to own a piece of email technology in 1994?” asks Jackson, who believes the currency is still very much in its early adoption phase. “That’s what Bitcoin is like right now, and it’s only getting bigger.” While it’s still being debated whether Bitcoin will ever gain a full foothold in the global financial ecosystem, there has been less discussion about the currency’s potential effects within communities that aren’t well served by traditional financial services. Bitcoin’s promise in the African American community has been especially overlooked—more time has been spent worrying that the currency would facilitate criminal activity.
Jackson doesn’t neatly fit the image many have of the typical Bitcoin user—the affluent, white, libertarian-leaning male. Jackson isn’t white, and he’s neither an Austrian School devotee nor a card-carrying member of the Seasteading Institute. (“I’m not what you would call an anarcho-capitalist,” he says. “I do believe that government can provide basic rules so that everybody can get along.”) As overall awareness of Bitcoin has grown, African Americans like Jackson might be able to serve as the currency’s cultural ambassador to certain minority communities.
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Written by KYLE COWARD

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