Thais Rosario

  • Home: South Bronx
  • Age: 19
  • Currently: Freshman (second semester) at SUNY Old Westbury, History

Thais Rosario is persistent and hopeful. More than you.

After attending the Crypto Community Project in August, Rosario started up an unofficial business in her South Bronx neighborhood providing services in exchange for Zcash.

“You know, all kinds of stuff — cleaning, helping with shopping, anything I can do to do a favor,” she says.

She won’t disclose how much Zcash she’s earned, and she admits she’s only had a few customers in her first couple weeks of business, but she’s determined to grow this side-hustle. (In addition to her burgeoning services company, Rosario works at Foot Locker and in the registrar’s office at SUNY Old Westbury.)

Consider the process and the impact Rosario is having. Her target market, neighbors in the South Bronx, may be largely unaware of what cryptocurrencies are, and odds are, of course,  that even fewer own any. And yet, here she is, convincing them to download Cash App, hook up a bank account, purchase Bitcoin and then send it to her as payment for her help. (Most of the time, Rosario then exchanges the Bitcoin for Zcash.)

Now suddenly, her customer is not only aware of this new digital, decentralized money, they already know how to buy it and send it — a pretty big hurdle for any crypto newbie.

Rosario says she has also started holding meetings with small groups of friends — and friends of friends — to tell them all about cryptocurrencies and show them how to get started.

“I’m not afraid to talk to people, make new connections. And they want to know more, especially younger people,” she says. “They want to know more about the opportunities, not only for investing in crypto, but also things like how it could be a better solution than foreign currency exchanges and money transfer.”

Rosario immigrated to the US in 2009, from the Dominican Republic. She, her four siblings, mother and grandmother settled in the South Bronx, in a two-bedroom apartment, determined to find better education and better job opportunities.

She’s always had a great work ethic, she says, and she’s been lucky enough to meet people like Carlos Acevedo, her English teacher who makes sure his students are learning life skills in addition to Shakespeare. So she’s determined to take this spirit and the lessons learned and give back to her community, where poverty, crime and inequitable systems can stifle potential. As a 9-year-old, with a single-mother working three jobs, Rosario missed school sometimes to stay home and take care of her 8-month-old sister. 

“I’ve been through all that, I know how hard it is for people to break out,” Rosario says. 

“Most girls, they either end up being teen moms, not finishing college, or they go to work for a while in a beauty salon, or as a cashier, or in fast food. Their future is molded for them.”

“But I tell them they can do better. I know them — this younger generation — and I know that there’s better out there.

“It was instilled in me from an early age. Education is everything.”

And so that’s what she’s doing.