Crypto for Black Economic Empowerment

Accelerating adoption of crypto is raising significant questions about how it can play a role in improving the economy at large. Not only does crypto have a diversity problem, it is also woefully misunderstood in broader communities, including communities of color. Moreover, as we enter a new era of a Biden Administration, from a financial services and fintech perspective, the progressive wing of the Democratic party is going to be focused on delivering results and improving financial opportunities for underrepresented communities. How can crypto transform economic opportunities for people of color everywhere? 

Joining us this week to explore these issues and more is Cleve Mesidor, the founder of the National Policy Network of Women of Color in Blockchain. A Washington insider, she served as an Obama Presidential Appointee, a senior staffer in Congress, and the leadership of national political campaigns. She is also the author of The CLEVOLUTION: My Quest for Justice in politics & Crypto. 
Listen to this very special episode of the Money Movement today to learn more about crypto for black economic empowerment.

Jeremy Allaire: Hello, I'm Jeremy Allaire and welcome to The Money Movement, a show where we explore the issues and ideas driving this brave new world of digital currency and blockchains. Accelerating adoption of crypto is raising significant questions about how it can play a role in improving the economy at large. Not only descriptor have a diversity problem, it also is woefully misunderstood in broader communities, including communities of color. Now, as we enter this new era of the Biden administration from a financial services and fintech perspective, the progressive wing of the Democratic Party is going to be focused on delivering results and improving financial opportunities for underrepresented communities. How can crypto transform economic opportunities for people of color everywhere?

Joining us this week to explore these issues and more, his Cleve Mesidor founder of the National Policy Network of Women of Color in Blockchain, a Washington insider. She served as an Obama presidential nominee, a senior staffer in Congress and the leadership of a number of national political campaigns. She's also author of The Clevolution: My Quest for Justice in Politics & Crypto. Welcome, Cleve, it's wonderful to have you here today.

Cleve Mesidor: I'm thrilled to be here.

Jeremy: Excellent. So much we're going to talk about today. I'm very excited for this conversation. I want to start actually a little bit with your story. I love to start with people's story and specifically, your journey here, your journey into crypto, the intersection of the themes that you've been talking about. We're going to touch on your book, but I want to just start maybe with your journey here and we'll go from there.

Cleve: Thank you for having me on. I've watched the work that you're doing, it's so cool. Keep up the great work. Globally and in the US, but I love to start like this because in the crypto space, we underestimate how much our stories, our journey into this space, matter to people and actually, help to actually bring people into the fold.

I first learned about cryptocurrency when I was working in the Obama administration as a political appointee. In 2013 a friend had a Bitcoin project and asked me to help him. I learned about bitcoin with help with the project. It was interesting. Then I saw the movie Dope. Some of your audience may remember that I love that movie. [laughs] It was still interesting, but didn't really motivate me, until about 2015. 2015-2016 the conversation expanded beyond Bitcoin, and it actually shifted to the possibilities of the technology. Intellectual property protections, identity management, privacy.

I'm sure your audience is wondering where the accent is from. I am actually from Haiti from the Caribbean. I was born in Haiti, moved to the US when I was eight. I was raised here, but when you think of things like self-sovereign identity, that actually matters in the Caribbean where so many people don't even have ID. That's the journey that brought me into this space. When people say, "Why are you here?" I say, "I'm here for the economic revolution."

We know so many people across the world. I think 1.7 billion are unbanked or underbanked. For me, that's the prism. I come to crypto, it's looking at it as a technology, a currency to help solve some of the problems for the communities that I can connect that to.

Jeremy: That's really profound. I have my own small Haiti connection. I spent a lot of time studying and learning about political change in Haiti, I met Jean-Bertrand Aristide and Parish of the Poor, his book was obviously a really influential book for me a long time ago. That's really cool.

This connection to people who need economic transformation is such a profound part of this and I think a lot of what has drawn a lot of people into this industry, into this movement, has been the belief that digital currency and blockchains could bring more people into the economic system and enable more people to participate in that.

I feel like you're obviously in the heart of the beast of policy there in DC and there's a lot of passion for these issues, but it feels like a lot of policymakers, political leaders, they don't really connect to that, they don't really understand that. I'd be interested just at a high level to hear how you talk about that. If you're sitting down with a representative in congress and they're saying, "Isn't this just a bunch of dudes trading and making money speculating on this thing and isn't this just a criminal thing?" The classic FUD. How do you respond to them and how do you connect to this more fundamental set of ideas that you're pursuing?

Cleve: I think for me, I actually think as part of the crypto community, we have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of what we have not done in terms of educating people. For myself, it took me two years to get this thing and I publish a weekly newsletter. More so for me, it goes out to thousands. More so for me, just to keep up. This is a hard thing to understand, which we know and that's a big barrier to adoption.

I worked on Capitol Hill, I worked for two members of Congress. I actually focus on the tri caucus; the Black Caucus, Hispanic Caucus and Asian Pacific American Caucus. Their prism, the lens that crypto through is that you sell crypto. That's what they've heard about. When you look at big tech and these communities and these members who represent communities of color, they think of crypto like big tech, that they have to protect consumers from it. What I try to do is I try to demystify crypto and I try to soften the language of crypto.

We all love the Satoshi, but quite frankly, it scares the hell out of elected officials. We need to remember in crypto, that most of the members of Congress, the majority party 70% of them, if not 75%, are over 70, over 60. Therefore, it's not a matter of age, it's a matter of the relationship with money. Their relationship with money is different. For me, I approach it from the conversation about money is more inclusive when we have the most actions available to consumers. I share basic definitions of cryptocurrency and do not go into technical definitions. I also don't focus on the members, the members will only take you so far because they have so many priorities of leadership. Where we need to do a lot of work is with congressional staff.

Again, legislative systems juggle multiple issues, so they don't have the time to sit here and hear you tell them they don't understand it. With members of Congress and their staff, I try to find out from the financial services side, what are their problems? What are their issues? How can I help them solve or bridge the gap of some department they have? Then they'll be more likely to say, "Okay, Cleve, let's talk about this crypto thing."

Jeremy: It makes a lot of sense. Obviously, today is a significant day because it's the start of a new comprehensive Democratic Party governance in Congress and in the White House. I think the progressive wing of the party and and the moderate wing of the party, both care a lot about financial inclusion. They care a lot ultimately about the infrastructure development. That's a big theme that I think people care about, competitiveness of the US workforce.

Why do you believe that critical themes are to be focused on in educating members of Congress and in particular, of course, the staff? What do you think the key themes are that we need to focus on?

Cleve: I's a new day, a new Congress, a new administration. This is the most diverse Congress and the most diverse administration ever. We have a lot of new members who are very excited. Also, a lot of the regulatory agencies in the executive branch, their leadership are changing. For me, we have to look at this thing from the crypto community has to be less aggressive. The biggest challenge for the executive branch and the legislative branch over the next two years will be economic recovery. We need to demonstrate how does crypto fit into economic discovery. We can't come at it, "Oh, this is the solution, this and that." We have to look at, what is the financial plan?

Biden has announced there's $1.9 trillion plan. We know where Congress is going with legislation. If we stay focused on economic recovery and if we look at the buckets of economic strategies that they have and we look at opportunities for pilots and working groups and look at opportunities to actually integrated crypto, in a way that's none disruptive. I know it goes against our nature, but for Biden, the COVID and the economy will definitely bog him down, for members of Congress as well. So for us, if we can't fit in where they are in, it's going to be very hard to even have the conversation.

I know some people are upset that Janet Yellen indicated that she's concerned about Alyssa East use of crypto. That's the lens they're looking at and in Congress, it's all about relationships and it's all about building those relationships and we have to do better at that. Once we build those relationships, once we actually help them to-- we have to come up with the solutions of how we fit into this economic recovery conversation, then things would be a little smoother, I think.

Jeremy: That makes sense. I think there are a couple of important lenses here. One is the sort of investing in the next level of infrastructure for the country, which is a really critical piece to make the country more competitive, to ultimately make the economic system itself ready for the 21st century, to use a cliché.

I wonder if that can become a key part of the message which is, "Hey, this is blockchain infrastructure, digital currency, the opportunities that it creates is going to be the foundation for the global economic system. We need to make sure that the best opportunities exist in the world for doing that here in the United States, not just happening in China, not just happening in other markets that are being more progressive with this and really kind of help the administration and Congress understand that."

Cleve: I think you're right on, infrastructure as a priority and if you remember when Trump first came on board, there was a lot of talk about an infrastructure bill. There was a lot of talk about doing this, but then the bottleneck happened. Once there's conflict, nobody's going to give anybody a win, so the infrastructure bill never materialized. We have an opportunity here and you're right, this infrastructure bill, I remember when we came into the Obama administration, we had to figure out how to create jobs and we added innovation entrepreneurship.

As we're looking at infrastructure bill, it's all about creating new innovation jobs. It's all about empowering small businesses in different ways, these small entities that hire less than five people, making sure that they have the tools. I totally agree, that's a direct way where we can actually talk about cryptocurrency, basic things, like making sure that more businesses can actually accept cryptocurrency and we have the infrastructure already in place in a way that is very low waste to them.

Also, in terms of making sure that there's new jobs we're creating, that there's funding for training about financial literacy training and workforce training around cryptocurrency. Those are well within the purview of the crypto community to collaborate.

Jeremy: I see that as well. As you've come through this journey, I'm actually interested just coming a little bit back to your own story. Talk a little bit about the book, about some of the critical themes that you explore in the book. Maybe just start there and then I want to dive more into some of the diversity and inclusion issues that face this industry and relate to policy issues as well.

Cleve: The book is about my quest for justice in politics and crypto. The name is The Clevolution, which a friend came up with, it wasn't me, but it's really about this fusion of these two different, different spaces that I come from. I have a deep Washington background, I worked on Capitol Hill and worked for the Obama administration, worked on national campaigns. Crypto was new then, again, first introduced to it in 2013, got in more so on 2015. It's interesting, these communities are very, very different. (laughs) I'm sorry, very, very similar.

I swear to you the craziness of Washington, how polarized and siloed it is and how people form different camps, oh my God, crypto is exactly the same way. Which is one of the reasons why it's very hard, Washington and the crypto community tends to talk at each other, instead of with each other.

The book focuses on these experiences because for me, whether it was in politics or now in crypto, social justice and economic justice is what I'm focused on. I even remember when worked at CNN, I went to Howard University. I'm reppin' Howard because our vice president is a Howard alumnus, so we're happy to be on the map. When I left Howard University, I went to work for CNN Washington Bureau, which focused on politics.

I remember Frank Cessna was our Bureau Chief at the time and I had a conversation with him. He talked about media being a public service. I remember thinking, "Yes, that's why I'm here." When I went into politics, it was about a public service.

It was frustrating in politics because there was a lot of problems we could not solve. You can't legislate some things, you can't write a bill to solve some things. When I left Washington, it was because I wanted to be part of the other side, how do I make these changes that were so difficult from a legislative or regulatory perspective.

The crypto has allowed me to be a revolutionary, be a disruptor and actually, reach back and say, "Hey, here's some of the solutions," and leverage some of the relationships. Those are some of the themes. A big part of it is obviously, my journey from being born in Haiti to the moving to the US and integrating into the US. Also, I talk about being an entrepreneur, being part of the new small businesses in America, which are these micro enterprises.

I even talk about the PPP loan. Good intentions, but the federal government has to start thinking differently about what a 21st century small business is. When you look at micro-enterprises, innovative enterprises, the PPP was the first effort to actually try to integrate independent contractors, startups, entrepreneurs, they even allowed fintech and the banks to participate, but that scenario we have to do better.

I've met with the small business administration, you know they-- sorry, House Small Business Committee. They're excited about innovating, especially things like the 7(a) Loan Program. We had to do better to actually make sure that as we actually go into this innovation economy, that small businesses, micro-enterprises, have what they need to be resourced and successful.

That's a short synopsis of some of the stuff I cover.

Jeremy: Very interesting. As you think about this kind of communities of color, financial inclusion and crypto, what do you see as the primary ways that crypto can be a positive capability for these communities?

Cleve: Obviously, when we talk about financial inclusion, we're talking about the 1.7 billion globally. We're talking about the 55 million here in the US who are unbanked or underbanked, but that is just the baseline. Financial inclusion is not the goal, is where we need to be just to level the playing field. That's where we have to go beyond that to economic opportunity, economic equity and even economic justice.

One of the things I love to muse about is, what is the problem crypto is trying to solve? Going back to this relationship with money, depending on where you are in crypto, your relationship with money, that will actually inform how you view the technology and how you're building on it. For me, coming from a community of color, coming from an economically disadvantaged community, I grew up in New York City. I grew up in Queens. For the most part, they were probably middle class, but the challenges I want to solve relate back to financial inclusion. I love the idea that we can leverage crypto to actually fit some of that gap, to bridge the gap. Crypto can actually give access to financial services in a way that the traditional system did not.

When you look at where we are right now in the crypto community, where we've actually been successful in doing this, is abroad, where inflation is high. Venezuela was a great case, Argentina and others. I know Soco has a footprint and globally, is doing some great work. There are some places where crypto works. Again, you see a lot of focus on the content of Africa, Brazil, India because of this issue of inflation. It's very difficult here where cash is still king, where people really still have confidence in the traditional financial system.

I guess this is my long-winded way to say, we still have to demonstrate that crypto can actually bridge that financial inclusion gap. We have to look back at what are some of the projects we're building. There's so much focus on Bitcoin ETF. As a person who owns Bitcoin, was an early-- I'm all for that, but when you look at the marketplace, the needs of the marketplace or even the priorities of today's consumers, in crypto, we had to invest more in terms of educating, in terms of financial literacy and also, in terms of outreach and engagement.

The space is in its infancy. We put too much pressure on us as a community, but the space is in its infancy. Sometimes, we forget that the whole world doesn't know and love crypto. We forget that the whole world doesn't sit at conferences talking about all of these technical aspects of it. We have to do a better job to connect to the marketplace and financial inclusion. We need to do better.

Jeremy: One of the questions I wanted to ask you related to that is, with financial inclusion and creating economic opportunities, I think part of the very specific approach that Bitcoin itself presents is as essentially a savings technology, it's a way to put savings into something that is non-inflationary, that gives you a way to store value, that's not just traditionally in the banking sector. I think for many individuals, people can take some amount of their savings and do that.

You're now seeing obviously, the BlackRocks of the world, the Fidelities of the world, big, big institutions, even insurance companies, other things that are starting to do it. Part of the democratization of this, is that this is something that you just need to download a piece of software or if you get Cash App, you can put $50 into this and safely store it. I wonder from an education perspective and a financial literacy perspective, does the crypto community need to do a better job educating people where the idea of buying something like this and holding something like this as a savings technology, might be really alien to them? They're certainly not hearing that from their community-owned bank. They're not hearing that when they go down the street, but these are communities that actively use every advanced technology that there is. They actively are using all of the advancements of the internet. Do you see that as a key goal for us, in terms of education?

Cleve: Yes. I think store value is one of the aspects that's most interesting about crypto. You mentioned a lot of the financial services companies are in. Fidelity was early in, Daily Diamond has turned around. Then, you see PayPal and definitely Cash App. For me, I tell people, especially when people do think of Bitcoin as the way to attract people in, it's like this thing to get them in, but we have to be concerned about that as well, too, because we don't want to steer people to Bitcoin, which has a high price. I tell them, "You can put Bitcoin on layaway. You can just buy a little at a time." We don't want people to lose their savings or to lose the little money that they have, which is why the financial literacy comes into play.

For me, when I talk to people, I encourage them to buy cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is so sexy, I encourage them to start with Bitcoin. I actually point them to Cash App because most people have a Cash App account. I tell them, "Buy $25 worth of Bitcoin." Because no one's going to be upset if they lose $25 and we hope they're not going to lose $25, but at least, once they see a return, they'll increase that.

I actually know somebody, he first learned about cryptocurrency during an event I did for Black History Month on Capitol Hill. This is a great story. He shared the story that he got enamored at Bitcoin. He works for the federal government, so I won't say which agency. During COVID, the government allowed federal employees to actually be able to take up to $100,000 out of their federal account. He actually took $100,000 and put it into Bitcoin. [laughs] Like two weeks ago, he called me and said, "Thank you." Because when Bitcoin hit $40,000--

He bought Bitcoin I think when it was like $40,500 in March. The store of value is exciting, but we have to talk about it differently. We have to encourage people to buy $25, which is a hard thing for people in crypto to do, because they're just like, "That is ridiculous. They should be smarter." "No."

I remember when I joined Obama administration, one of the biggest successes of his first term was people who donated $25. They donated $25. They showed up, it's a volunteer every day. They knocked on doors because that $25 is precious. Going back to the financial literacy piece and that has to go hand in hand with the store of value, because cold storage is important for people to understand because they can do Cash App for a while, but that only takes them so far because of the limitation.

We want them to get to a point where they understand how to hold their own keys, they understand the difference between buying crypto on PayPal, versus a traditional exchange or even, how to actually hold their own crypto to cold storage. One of the projects I'm working on is to create a financial literacy product, which would essentially be a certificate program. The goal is to work with financial literacy centers. There are tons of them in the communities we need to hit. We don't have to build the structure.

These financial literacy centers are already teaching people the difference between paying for a banana, between paying with a dollar, a credit card, or a check. They teach them. We need to add crypto to that mix. This product would be a certificate program that the financial literacy centers would actually administer. Once their participants, their patrons complete it, they get their first wallet and they get $25 in that first wallet. They go into it, at least, having a basic knowledge about cold storage because the certificate program would focus on cold storage.

As we actually get people to focus on store of value by crypto, this is a good way to actually start integrating the conversation about cold storage into the crypto.

Jeremy: Good. I think that's a powerful way to go. Education in that way is really powerful. I think for a lot of people, the concept of being able to control your own store of value, not have it be something that can be seized from you, the independence that can come from that and otherwise, it can be quite powerful, but it's a lot to learn and take on, for sure.

I want to come back to one of the themes that you've touched on and obviously, is a major theme for you, which is the diversity problem in crypto.

Women of Color in Blockchain, you're at the forefront of driving greater diversity in the blockchain ecosystem. I would love to hear a little bit about that work. Also, this is a big problem. We need these communities to reflect the diversity of the world we're in. Some might argue that will happen automatically as this becomes a mass-market technology, but I also think as an ecosystem, we have to be intentional about these things.

I'd love to hear about what intentions you think need to be there and how do we keep addressing this?

Cleve: It's very important. The burden that crypto inherited from big tech is the fact that big tech is seen as not inclusive, not diverse and also, that they don't want to be inclusive or diverse. In the crypto community, we have to push beyond that because if we actually repeat or allow ourselves to be branded with the manacle of big tech, members of Congress and the administration are not going to take us seriously and they're certainly not going to advance another industry that will actually keep people of color out.

This effort to actually get smart regulatory policy, means that crypto, we have to make sure that in our workforce, we actually reflect the demographics. As an advocate for diversity, I'm not asking for any special favors. HBCUs, I'm a graduate of Howard University, has spent the last two decades creating a pipeline. We've had Black and Brown people go to all of these universities to learn about tech. We know that right now, Blacks and Latinos make up about 40% of the US, so if they're not represented in your workforce, it's not because you can't find talent, it's because you are actually excluding 40% of the US population.

That demographic issue is not an easy thing to fix and we know that. As you said, we have to be intentional. One of the things that I'll share that has been great is crypto companies, especially large crypto companies, working with HBCUs. What happened was I think Ripple started working with Morgan State, Morgan State grew this big infrastructure there, so now everybody goes to Morgan State. I get contacted about Howard, Howard created a lab and now everybody wants to-- There are so many HBCUs around the country. One of the ways-

Jeremy: It's because they're big names, it's got to be everywhere.

Cleve: I would say that one of the things that we don't talk about enough is the regional growth of crypto. When I do events with women of color on Capitol Hill, I bring women from all over the country because members of Congress want to know that people who look like them, from their congressional district are building there. From the diversity perspective, that is one way that the sector, I guess, most of the leadership or the people who control the money are probably in New York and California and DC because of the regulatory piece. When you look at Ohio, when you look at even Atlanta, when you look at Miami or Chicago, what you're seeing there is grassroots bottom-up growth.

People in these communities, Ohio is a big one, but they have Congressman Warren Davidson and others to support them. People are building grassroots communities that large corporations can tap. If we're looking for partners, you don't have to keep going to Harvard and Princeton. Harvard and Princeton are great, Howard and Morgan State are great, but look to some of these communities where they [crosstalk]

Jeremy: I think it's a really, really strong point. I think partnering with HBCUs and the geographic diversity is such a big piece of it. What's been interesting, Circle's been growing a lot and with the pandemic world, we're fully remote, we're fully distributed and if you go on our site, we list many of the jobs are just remote, wherever you are. We're hiring people all over the country and in different parts of the world and I think that creates an enormous opportunity to improve diversity and inclusion. Talent is everywhere.

If you are in the echo chamber of New York finance or Silicon Valley, software big tech, you're going to self-select into a set of communities that have established there, but if you go broader, there's incredibly talented people everywhere and just tremendous opportunities to bring people in. I think this remote work, absolutely should be a real call to action for organizations with intention improve their diversity, absolutely.

Cleve: If I can interject one more thing, internships continue to be important. We think this is 21st century, internships are just like, "No." Internships is where we've actually seen a huge divide as well, the inequity exists that actually is a barrier to having more diverse workforces in tech and even in crypto. Internships arch the opportunities. For the most part, they typically go to children of wealthy donors or investors. Even on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, Howard University over 150 years in Washington, DC, it has been hard to even get interns to Capitol Hill because Capitol Hill it's not an easy place to intern. You have to move here and even if you live here, you have to have housing, so it's an expensive proposition one that mostly wealthy college students can afford.

We've actually worked very hard just to figure out how can we ensure that we get more Howard University interns in Capitol Hill, again, recognizing is difficult because there are barriers. I know Kristin Smith at the Blockchain Association is looking at an internship program for her member companies. Again, it's hard, we have to be intentional. One of the ways is to make sure that your internship program has diversity and is intentional about promoting that.

If you can look at your intern pool each year and not see it reflect the demographics of America, then you have a problem, then you need to do more. A lot of people focus on the lack of diversity in the leadership of these large corporations, tech or any corporations, I focus on your entry-level employees and your mid-level employees because if we're going to level the playing field, they're going to enter through these positions and that's where we have to make sure there's a pipeline. Entry-level jobs, mid-level jobs and if we look there, there's not enough diversity.

Jeremy: It's a great recommendation for the industry. I wanted just touch at a very high level on your big picture thoughts and in some ways it's my last question, which is what's your dream? Where do you hope to see things in the next three to five years specifically, in terms of crypto and blockchain, and the broader intersection of politics and crypto and communities of color? What would success look like? What would it look like in three to five years? That's roughly the length of the Biden administration, so you can maybe talk about in the next four years.

Cleve: Oh, my God. What would success look like for me? How would I define success? I do want to see more intention about diversity within the crypto communities, especially with large employers. I would love for Coinbase to finally recognize that they have an issue and even acknowledge that because you can't fix what you don't acknowledge. They don't know they have a lot of people who'd be willing to help them if they would just acknowledge that they have a problem. Irregardless of Coinbase, I think every company should do that because as you mentioned, I talk a lot about the decade of women, women of color were very much responsible for Biden's win. That is why you've seen his administration is so diverse.

The Biden administration is going to expect crypto to be diverse if it wants a seat at the table. We need to address the diversity piece. Again, it's hard, we have to be intentional, but there are partners and allies that want to help with that. I would definitely love for the crypto community to be more intentional and committed to education and training. We're so excited about this space, we want mainstream adoption, but we're not going to the basics. We have to step back and figure out the language of crypto and start doing basic education, basic training. It's not sexy, it's probably not going to yield anyone an immediate return, but we need--

A big example is a new Congress is in place. Typically what would happen if it wasn't COVID, the first month would be when constituency groups would come and meet with new members, trying to educate them about the issue share packet. We can't even agree on a definition of crypto. [chuckles] This thing is a technology, is an industry, is an asset class. We can't go to the consumers or elected officials with this level of grandiosity. We have to figure out, invest in education and training. For me, that would be a greatest success, if we were just as focused on education and training as we are by getting a Bitcoin ETF pass. I would say, like everybody in crypto, I want mass adaptation. I want mainstream consumer adoption. What does that mean?

Unfortunately, the regulatory piece would only back down for it because, again, Washington loves whenever anything's making money, Washington wants to figure out how to tax it, how to regulate it. We can't help that, but when you think about where we have opportunity, again, adoption globally is at a pace that is wonderful, given how new we are as an industry, but I definitely want to see much more industry growth.

Jeremy, here's a concern that I have and I don't know if other people have it. Barely 12 years old, whether or not people hate Bitcoin or cryptocurrency or blockchain, it's here to stay. The train has left and it's going to grow, but the crypto community has this burden, in my opinion, who's going to actually take it to the next level because when you see entities like Visa or Fidelity or Pay Pal enter this space, it's because they know that they have the consumers. They want to take it to the marketplace, they want to give it mainstream adoption and if the crypto community is not careful, all of these great exchanges we've built, all of these great organizations, companies and products we've built, they will get overshadowed, run over and the traditional financial industry will step in and they'll actually do the education. They'll connect to their consumers and they will actually go to this space.

I remember when PayPal first announced that they're going to offer crypto and they had the descriptions for six cryptocurrencies. Remember the uproar war on crypto Twitter was like, this is ridiculous. My thing was, Paypal, they have to speak to a consumer that knows nothing about crypto. They had test the language based on the consumer base they have because again, in crypto, we don't have a consumer base yet. We haven't carved a niche in the marketplace.

In the next four years, I would love to see the people who actually build crypto, which includes people of color, who are there from the beginning, we have to look at how do we make sure we protect our market share and make sure we're not fighting and giving the traditional financial institution an opportunity to come in and just pick it.

Jeremy: Very good perspective. As a startup that's been in the space for seven and a half years, I hope that is also what happens. Cleve, this has been really wonderful to have you on. Really appreciate your thoughts and insights and looking forward to, hopefully, continuing collaboration. Thank you again for joining us today.

Cleve: Thank you for the opportunity to be here and to connect with your viewers and listeners. Thank you for the great work you're doing with Soco. I commend you on your commitment to financial inclusion and also building a strong financial system for the world.

Jeremy: Thank you so much. We'll talk to you very soon.

Cleve: Bye.

Jeremy: Bye-bye. Some great perspective there from Cleve and a really pivotal moment in policy, in crypto, in what mainstream adoption might look like over the next four years and really call to action on our industry to be more intentional about diversity, to be more intentional about education and really the substance of what financial inclusion involves. Hopefully, you all took some great perspective from that. Until next time, stay well, stay safe and stay informed.


[00:45:39] [END OF AUDIO]

Jeremy Allaire
Co-Founder, CEO & Chairman at Circle
Cleve Mesidor
Founder, National Policy Network of Women of Color in Blockchain

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