The fintech, or financial technology industry, has changed over the last few years. NFTs, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and other financial technologies are making people rich.
However, it can look like a complicated and daunting experience for those not in the game, especially for Black Americans. Imari Oliver, the CEO and founder of Bond & Play, is working to make sure Black Americans aren’t left out of the fintech revolution.
To ensure Black Americans don’t miss the moment, Oliver created the FinTech BLK Fest. The event, which took place Nov. 16 through 18, brought more than 70 experts and leaders in finance, technology, education, entertainment, advertising and marketing, and culture for the three-day event.
Additionally, FinTech BLK featured expert-led masterclasses featuring topics on personal branding for the digital economy, financial empowerment, monetizing your cultural intellectual property, and more. Oliver, a Brooklyn, New York, native, told BLACK ENTERPRISE three key factors led him to create and produce FinTech BLK.
“I understood there was a global disruptive and transformational technology shift underway that was going to redefine and reshape the economic landscape for businesses and individuals,” Oliver said. “I also wanted to increase conversations in the Black community around generational wealth, economic equity, and financial empowerment, and I partnered with the United Negro College Fund and HBCUs to ensure they understood the potential and possibilities of this new digital movement.”
Panel speakers and masterclass hosts included Visa VP and Head of Crypto Cuy Sheffield; Trinidad Hermida, CEO, The Hermida Co.; Cleve Mesidor, Head of Women of Color in Blockchain; Hot Shot Swanson of the Harlem Globetrotters, and many others.
Topics discussed during the three-day event focused on the Globetrotters and the release of their NFT sitcom with rapper Snoop Dogg; Secrets of Black Wall Street, with the writers of the new film on the Tulsa Race Massacre, executive produced by Morris Chestnut; Demystifying Careers in FinTech, and financial empowerment for athletes.
Oliver told BLACK ENTERPRISE that it’s paramount Black Americans familiarize themselves with the fintech industry and use it “to purchase, sell, and trade digital assets and monetize the creativity and ingenuity of individuals and the community.”
The entire FinTech BLK Festival will be on-demand and free to everyone to view in the coming days via the FinTech BLK website. When asked what he wants the Black community to take from the event, Oliver said he wants Black Americans to take action, learn the fintech space and take action now. Oliver is already planning next year’s event.
“FinTech BLK for 2022 will become a DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) and help the community shape the event,” Oliver said. “It’s about letting attendees determine what they want to experience and help organize it. We want to make sure that we will leave no one in the community behind.”