Smith stiffened. Even though the crisis, at that point, appeared to be contained to China, he sensed that it would eventually move to the United States. He had made billions of dollars as a software pioneer in part by reading transaction data and then anticipating what would come next. And this was what he thought would come next: an economic crisis that would disproportionately decimate black-owned businesses, like the two-year recession Smith, 57, witnessed in the 1970s while growing up in Denver. It was going to happen again, he thought. He was right.