This Black & Latinx-Owned Company Is Using Blockchain Technology To Combat Homelessness
Photo Credit: Equity Coin / L-R: Akil Ash (Director of Technology), Michael McConnell (Director of Engagement), Jey Van Sharp (Chief Strategy Officer), Vernon J. (Founder and CEO), and Beatriz Durant (Director of Property Management and Sustainability)
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This Black & Latinx-Owned Company Is Using Blockchain Technology To Combat Homelessness

EquityCoin is not your average company using blockchain technology.

In fact, they may be the only company that is not only Black and Latinx-owned but also uses the new technology to combat the homelessness crisis in America — with an ultimate goal to reach $1 billion in wealth in communities of color by the year 2030.

In a press release announcement, EquityCoin revealed that their first step to creating equitable and affordable housing using blockchain technology was by creating a digital token. Its next phase of development involves the creation of what they’re calling EquityShare, which streamlines the tokenization process between the prospective unhoused buyer and real estate agents. The transactions will take place on the Ethereum-based blockchain.

“By marrying blockchain technology and affordable housing, we will revitalize urban areas from coast to coast, building a more healthy, livable, and sustainable society. It’s not only important to do the work, but also to have the cultural empathy to provide a holistic approach to community-building,” states Beatriz Durant, EquityCoin’s Director of Property Management, in the press release announcement.

EquityCoin was founded in January 2021 after its CEO, Vernon J — an investor and commercial real estate professional with over 16 years of experience and $150 million in transactions — rented out his apartment in East New York, Brooklyn, to an unhoused mother and son.

Homelessness: By the Numbers

According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, being unhoused is more prevalent than people think. In 2020, more than 500,000 people in the United States reported being homeless — and that number is projected to rise as the fallout from the pandemic continues.

Unsurprisingly, homelessness is also tied to gender, race, and ethnicity. While men are more likely to experience homelessness than women, historically marginalized racial groups (i.e., Black, Latinx) are more likely to experience homelessness than their white counterparts. Pacific Islanders and First Nations/Native American populations are the most likely to be homeless.

What is Blockchain Technology?

Investopedia describes blockchain technology as such: “Blockchain is a type of shared database that differs from a typical database in the way that it stores information; blockchains store data in blocks that are then linked together via cryptography.”

Transmitting data over a blockchain is safe, secure, and effective.

Statement from EquityCoin CEO Vernon J

“There’s no doubt in my mind that Blockchain and Web3 are the great equalizers of our time,” he said exclusively to AfroTech. “With 500,000 people sleeping on the streets every night, affordable housing is the pandemic of our time, and we need solutions that combine both private and public programming in order to dramatically increase access. EquityCoin was developed to fill this void by creating a system for tokenizing real estate equity on the Ethereum blockchain where actual community members can own fractions of portfolios, and at the same time provide housing for families in danger of becoming homeless.”

He continued: “The reason any Blockchain project is successful is because of the strong community behind it. EquityCoin is starting with East New York Brooklyn as the first market because we have spent years carefully developing the digital home for the community – EastNewYork.com, a platform with over 30,000 members, connecting residents, and stakeholders. We’re taking both a digital and physical approach to city planning by building empowerment ecosystems.”