Exclusive Interview: Tyrone Ross, Founder, 401STC
One of the ’40 Under 40’ Talks Digital Assets, Financial Literacy, and SOUSOU – the Very First Blockchain
Ric Edelman: I want to introduce you to somebody you may not know as a household name, but he's a pretty impressive gentleman in the field of personal finance. Tyrone Ross is with us here on the program. Investment News called Tyrone one of the “40 Under 40,” one of the most important people to watch of young new upstarts in the field of personal finance. Wealth Management Magazine named Tyrone Ross, a top 10 advisor set to change the industry. Financial Planning magazine named Tyrone Ross, one of 20 people who will change wealth management. Investopedia ranked Tyrone, one of America's top 100 financial advisors, and Think Advisor named him one of the 25 most influential advisors in the country. And wait, there's more. Barron's named Tyrone, one of the 10 people to watch in wealth management in 2022. Tyrone Ross, my friend, welcome to the program.
Tyrone Ross: Thank you so much for having me. It's an honor and pleasure to be here.
Ric: In addition to your many years in the business of providing financial advice to individuals and their effort to create and manage wealth, you have decided that there's one particular category, one particular area of wealth management that deserves special attention by investors across the country and their financial advisors - the subject of Crypto. Why crypto, Tyrone?
Tyrone: I think I, like you, realize that there's a shift coming to make things faster, to make them more efficient, to make financial investing more accessible and more inclusive. And that's when I realized I needed to go all in on this, like yourself.
Ric: Going all in. Tell us about what that really means for you. How did you devote your emphasis in your career to the subject of blockchain and digital assets?
Tyrone: Yeah. So if you grew up like I did in a home that lacked any traditional financial service outlet, no bank account, none of that stuff, it is impossible for you not to understand Bitcoin right away. And I always tell people I only had to see my mother cry trying to find the next open check cashing place so many times to not realize when I got value sent to my phone real time. Wait a second. I have to pay attention to this. And when a friend sent it to me, I'm like, teach me everything. And he put me in this Facebook group chat and I saw all of these people saying all these things like mempool and stuff I didn't understand then, but I understand now. But I realized that they were giving each other really bad investment advice. And then I also realized a lot of these people had names and they looked, walk, talk and act like myself. And I was like, Wait a minute. I've been pounding the pavement for years to get underserved communities, minority communities, especially the black community, to invest in stock. And they would not do it. But with crypto, they dove right in and I'm like, Wait a minute, I have to get out in front of this. And when I first met you, it's like I'm going all in on this.
Ric: So it's interesting that you put this kind of in the context of the black community in America. Elaborate for us as to why you think this has of particular value for minorities in the United States.
Tyrone: And I'm very passionate about that because I was just talking to Senator Booker about this. He brought a bunch of black and Latino leaders in a very closed-door meeting to talk with him about the importance of this technology for black and brown folks. And one of the things that I always explain to people is if you go back to the 16th century and West African slaves, there was something called a sousou - SOUSOU. I'm Caribbean. My dad is from Guyana. If you know anything about Caribbean culture, a SOUSOU was the first blockchain. Right. So what does that mean? Well, let me explain. We speak the same language. We eat the same foods. We're from the same country. We all come to America. We can't just walk into a Bank of America and get an account. So there's 10 of us and we all say, okay, well, we all work and we have different bills to pay. We can't get a bank account. So here's what we do. 10 of us will put in $100. Now we have $1000 pot that we all put in. It's the first part, trustless. Now we have this pot of money that now we will get on a schedule. I have to pay my rent at the end of the month so I'll get my money last. Someone that goes first needs their money right away to pay for whatever it is, a car or something in their house or food or whatever the case may be. And then there's folks two through nine in the middle as well.
Tyrone: And when this schedule is done, man, that sounds a lot like a blockchain. And what you realize is, one, there's technology there basic in terms of the structure, too, there's community, right. Folks who have a common purpose, common banking, common understanding. With the objective of banking themselves outside of the traditional system. I can go into any inner-city community right now and get them to understand blockchain and Bitcoin from that lens. That's the first part, very easy. Second thing is, if you look at financial services, it has been inherently exclusive. So outside of traditional financial services, a lot of the folks don't speak the language of money. So they felt like it wasn't for me. When you talk to a lot of black folks and even in my house, I wasn't taught about money. I didn't know anything about stocks or bonds or anything. When I walked into Wall Street at 26 years old, I was completely financially illiterate. So now here comes this technology. Right? Okay, I get it. I just download this app and I can transact and I can send value. I can now be an investor and I can bank myself and kind of like antiestablishment, if you will. The minute Bitcoin was released into the world, you have this disruptive technology. I'm very passionate about this because I don't want anyone to discount what this has meant to folks who have grown up like me, and which is why I'm such an ardent supporter of it and will continue to be.
Ric: And that's why I think there is so much passion for this technology, this innovation, that it's going to improve the lives financially of the billions of people around the world who've been most excluded from the financial system. The costs are so much lower, the barriers to entry are virtually nonexistent. The economic opportunity, the investment opportunity is incredibly broad. And this is why so many folks like you, Tyrone, like me, are so passionate about this. It's not merely, Oh, it's a way for the rich to get richer. It's a way for those who are excluded from the financial system to become included. And along the way, we're going to eliminate poverty on a worldwide basis. How would you recommend that people begin? How should they get started to participate in this?
Tyrone: Yeah, I get this question often. And one of the things that I'm also very passionate about is financial education and getting resources from the right places. The content that you put out. I would encourage folks now to get your new book. So many resources out there just to get a feel for what this is. And the other thing I would say is once you feel like you get it, just try it with a couple of dollars. Like open an account and buy two or $3 of it just to see what that's like.
Ric: That's Tyrone Ross, who was one of the nation's most recognized financial advisors here on The Truth About Your Future. Tyrone, thanks for being with us on the show today.
Tyrone: Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate you.