Crypto’s Colorblind Promise

Digital currency
Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Baratunde Thurston
February 2, 2022

My father’s parents abandoned South Carolina for Washington, D.C. in the 1940s because the racism there was so unbearable and the cost to remain just too high. Later, my mother was basically forced to sell our home in D.C. because the crime was so out of hand, and she legitimately feared for my safety. I did not inherit any property or financial investments. My inheritance came in the form of stories, advice, a great set of LPs, and an early tech literacy which set me apart from many of the other Black kids I grew up with. 

I’m pretty sure we were the first family on the block to have a computer, and even when I transitioned to private school and my peer group became much more white and wealthy, I possessed more technological know-how than most of them. That exposure shaped my life. Tech gave me a leg up on research and job opportunities, gave me a creative outlet for my comedy and writing, gave me a sense of usefulness when I was able to help friends and family with something tech-related. I played the role of their own personal Genius Bar.