By Jeff Benson
The co-founder of Crypto for Black Economic Empowerment (CBBE), a group of 100 Black founders and creators, today announced the launch of a new crypto venture capital fund: Audacity.
Audacity Fund I is set to distribute money to African crypto startups, with a particular focus on decentralized finance (DeFi), the term for blockchain-based projects that cut out financial intermediaries like banks so that people can lend, borrow, and trade with one another directly.
100 years after the thriving black community in Tulsa Oklahoma #BlackWallStreet was bombed, I’m elated that black visionaries can re-emerge via crypto, never to be destroyed and only to build the future we want to see.
Let’s gooo!!! Cheers to the next years!
— Erikan (@heyerikan) June 17, 2021
“As exciting and interesting as blockchain and crypto is today, it’s still one dimensional in terms of the participants,” the fund’s founder, Erikan Obotetukudo, told Decrypt. At the same time, she said, “Fundamentally, crypto is actually being led and driven by emerging markets—El Salvador, Argentina, places like Nigeria and the Philippines.”
The fund, then, is about getting capital into the hands of Black and African entrepreneurs in such markets.
Beyond craving more blockchain engineers, she said many projects need help with crafting proper tokenomics, marketing their services, and even having backup to engage with regulators. For instance, Nigeria, one of the continent’s economic powerhouses, earlier this year barred banks from dealing with cryptocurrency companies, creating problems for Web 3 entrepreneurs.
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Audacity has some major names backing it, including, CoinShares CSO Meltem Demirors, IDEO CoLab Ventures, and Electric Capital, which provides funding to early-stage FinTech and crypto projects.
Though it has one foot in the venture capital world, the other is in decentralized capital. Audacity will leverage Syndicate Protocol, a platform for launching decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and investment funds. Obotetukudo said the plan is to transition the fund into a full-fledged DAO, an organization that lets members make investment and governance decisions by voting with tokens on a blockchain.
“Fundamentally, venture capital is changing,” she said. Being on-chain is about removing financial intermediaries and making it “more seamless to move money between being an investor and into an asset.”
She believes that Audacity can also be part of rectifying a system where Black and African people create much of the world’s intellectual property without compensation. “A lot of what we consume today and what sells today is with the black sort of aesthetic and African aesthetic in mind,” she said. Through tokenization, NFTs and other monetization strategies, the startups Audacity funds can help reverse that disparity.
Said Obotetukudo: “This fund is just the beginning of saying…the majority of the world that has been overlooked for centuries are going to be the leaders of the new internet.”