Obsidian Market Update 2/19/21

This week we’ll touch on another interesting piece of market news: cryptocurrency and its current rise. Then, because it’s Black History Month, we thought we would share some history around Black involvement in finance and the stock market.

You may have found that just as the GameStop debacle was fading from your mind, bitcoin jumped in to take its place as it broke $50,000 for the first time on Tuesday.​

Bitcoin is a digital currency (or cryptocurrency) run by a decentralized authority, not ​the government. It does not exist in a physical sense in the way paper money does. Instead, the balance is in an online ledger everyone has access to, called the blockchain. It is not a legal tender, but it has become increasingly popular in online payment mechanisms.

This week’s meteoric rise is in part because Tesla bought $1.5 billion worth of it, driving the value of each bitcoin up to $50,000 (in March of 2020, it was valued at $4,000 per). Its value is up 74% this year, thanks to Wall Street’s interest in the​ currency.

Buying bitcoin is a precarious proposition. In 2017, bitcoin value went up to $20,000 and then lost 80% of its value the following year. Bitcoin fans point out that the 2017 bubble was driven by retail speculation, whereas this one stems from institutional investor demand and is more stable. However, Skeptics see it as a speculative asset and worry this may be one of the biggest market bubbles ​in history and point out that bitcoin has no inherent value.​

Before we get onto our information about Black History Month, we wanted to let you know some big news:

Our beloved Patti is retiring, effective April 2, 2021. We will miss her very much, and we know you will too. Keep an eye out for an interview with her in the coming weeks. She’ll reflect on her long career with us and her plans for her well-earned retirement.

We believe in celebrating all people, here​, you can find a list of months dedicated to​ celebrating the richness of our cultural diversity. This month, we’re looking at some Black History Month facts as they relate to finance. Did you know that there is a long history of Black involvement in the financial market, dating back to the turn of the 20th century? We took some time this week to learn about important moments ​in Black history related to finance and want to share some with you, too:

  • In 1778, Richard Allen and Absalom Jones established the Free African Slave Society ​to educate newly freed people on socioeconomic issues and provide them economic support.
  • In 1879, Blanche Kelso Bruce of Farmville, Virginia, became the first Black​person (and the first formerly enslaved person) to preside over the U.S. Senate. In 1881, he also became the first Black person whose signature appeared on currency as Register of the Treasury.
  • Madame CJ Walker ​became the first Black woman millionaire in 1910 after building her haircare line. Her story is the subject of the Netflix series Self Made starring Octavia Spencer.​
  • In 1927, Major RR Wright formed the Negro Bankers Association,​ the country’s first professional organization for Black people in finance. The group changed its name to the National Bankers Association in 1948 and exists to this day.
  • The New York Stock Exchange got its first Black member in 1970 with Joseph L. Searles III,​ and in 2017, then 22-year-old Lauren Simmons became​the NYSE’s youngest and only female equities trader and the second Black woman to hold such a position.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results.  Securities offered through Triad Advisors, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory Services offered through Obsidian Personal Planning Solutions, LLC. Obsidian Personal Planning Solutions, LLC, and Obsidian Personal Planning Solutions, Inc, are not affiliated with Triad Advisors.