Inglewood Bitcoin Firm to Expand In-Person Centers

Inglewood Bitcoin Firm to Expand In-Person Centers
Crypto Blockchain Plug Inc. CEO Najah Roberts in the bitcoin room of her brick-and-mortar location.

After months of webinars and Zoom meetings, Crypto Blockchain Plug Inc. is coming back to the physical world. 

The Inglewood-based brick-and-mortar cryptocurrency exchange and education center will soon hold its first in-person event since the Covid-19 pandemic took hold. 

Rather than short-circuiting the company’s plans to promote cryptocurrency in financially underserved communities, founder and Chief Executive Najah Roberts said Crypto Blockchain Plug has stayed strong throughout the lockdown and has plans to open two other locations in major urban centers.

Roberts’ company is one of a handful of brick-and-mortar cryptocurrency businesses in the country, and she said it’s the only one that is owned by an African American woman. 

The center provides cryptocurrency buying and selling services, as well as hosting networking and skill-building events. Its primary purpose, according to Roberts, is education and community-building around cryptocurrency.

The former financial products saleswoman opened Crypto Blockchain Plug in early 2019 after struggling to find anyone in her community interested in — or even aware of — cryptocurrency. “I wanted this to be a WeWork for individuals in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space,” she said. 

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, the Inglewood business hosted a range of recurring events, such as “Women, Wine and Crypto,” and “Crypto Kids Camp,” designed to help introduce people to cryptocurrency and allow them to understand the opportunities and risks in the space. Since the lockdowns, these have mostly moved online, according to Roberts, and the company has added digital office hours to meet with community members about cryptocurrency and blockchain-related questions. 

Crypto Blockchain Plug will host its first in-person event during the pandemic at the end of this month — held outside to adhere to social distancing requirements.

Over the next year, Roberts said, she intends to grow Crypto Blockchain Plug in an owner-operated franchise model. The founder said she is currently in talks with candidates in New York and Las Vegas, and plans to establish locations in both of those cities within the next 12 months.

Cryptocurrency is known for its volatility. The price of one bitcoin, the most well-known type of cryptocurrency, grew from roughly $800 in mid-December 2016 to an all-time high of more than $19,700 one year later before falling to just under $3,200 in December 2018. As of Sept. 1, it was worth roughly $11,800.

Roberts says she helps investors hedge against this volatility by encouraging conservative investing practices. 

“I will always say, do not invest more than you can afford to lose. That’s with anything,” she said. “This should only be a piece of your portfolio if you decide to get into this.”

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