In Black Panther (2018), it is shown that Wakanda is an autarky (self-sufficient) country that lives within a bubble, literally. Hidden and fully isolated from the outside world.

But at the end of the movie, King T'Challa bought three huge buildings in Oakland, California where he plans of turning them into the first Wakandan International Outreach Center.

My question is: With what did he buy those buildings? As Wakanda, being fully isolated and not engaging in any international trade, won't have any reserve of hard currency that can be used abroad for such situations.

  • A bit of property in California doesn't require a massive amount of foreign currency. Over the years they could have conducted all sorts of trade and investments that would gain them some foreign reserves. Technology consultancy alone could have gained them enough money.
    – iandotkelly
    May 13, 2018 at 1:08
  • We’re never told but there are lots of ways they could make money without selling vibranium or advances technology. They could be using their superior information systems to speculate in currency markets, or might secretly hold the patent to Velcro. Who knows? May 13, 2018 at 4:53
  • Cross post: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/181723/…
    – Charles
    May 13, 2018 at 14:57
  • 2
    could be Bitcoin ;)
    – Vishwa
    May 14, 2018 at 6:59
  • @Vishua Oh, I bet they have awesome crypto mining technology which maximizes user of their octagonal monitors
    – m1gp0z
    Nov 28, 2018 at 16:03

2 Answers 2


Trade of Hard Assets is not the sole means of accumulating wealth.

Wakanda is technologically ascendent and would be able to achieve desired industrial or resource dependent outcomes at a fraction of the price and effort of most competition.

Tony Stark's revelation forges him into an altruistic capitalist, but a capitalist non-the-less. He gives as much of his resources away as possible to deserving causes, but the scale of this would be comparatively diminutive compared to a nation state. Wakanda's tech, whilst powered by Vibranium, could solve any number of problems regarding scarcity of resources.

Even before we consider the socio-political and medical advances their accumulative research and knowledge carries, from a business perspective alone; how much processing power do you think their technology is capable of? they may well be able to supersede all collective the Data-Farms in the world with ease, and onboard those contracts to within Wakanda, thus keeping all their resources and intellectual property.

Even while still political isolationists, this is one scenario in a million that could have already been at play before T'Challa 'opens their borders'. The value of Wakanda, and their co-operation, would immediately be attributed a high speculative monetary value.

The situation is Akin to an invasion of benevolent aliens on Earth; wherein they have arrived from outer-space with new technology and knowledge, but are not accommodated because they lack a trade currency; they wouldn't be expected to have any, but it would not see them cast out!


Wakanda isn't fully isolated any more, and in truth it never was completely isolated. We see in various MCU movies that the Wakandans do export small amounts of Vibranium to the wider world (Cap's shield for example). They just don't admit to quite how much they have available. Probably for the best, as they would likely crash the price if they made much more available too quickly.

In any case, this is the main source of Wakanda's wealth. The Black Panther is known in the Marvel comics as being substantially richer than Tony Stark, and it's all because of their unique resource - Vibranium. They're the only place in the world who have it, so they control the supply and therefore set the price.

This means that it's not so difficult for T'Challa to flash some cash to buy a few buildings.

  • 1
    Wakanda doesn't sell their vibranium for $$. Several different aspects of why this doesn't happen is directly mentioned in BP.
    – Charles
    May 12, 2018 at 8:25
  • In BP they mention not wanting their technology and weapons to be unleashed on the world, and this is what Killmonger plans to do. Wakanda had spies all over the world, and outreach had also begun under King T'Chaka (remember the Wakandans killed in Civil War?) If they're not selling it, how is it known that they are the only place on Earth where it can be found (Captain America/Age of Ultron)? I believe they are exporting small amounts here and there. In BP, Everett Ross reminds T'Challa that Wakanda reported all their vibranium stolen by Klaue, who claims it was a tiny fraction.
    – Dave
    May 13, 2018 at 14:18
  • If Wakanda isn't trading even tiny amounts of the vibranium, how come the wider world is so aware of it, where it came from and all the rest? If some of the larger countries wanted it and it wasn't available to buy, they would invade - revealing Wakanda's sophistication to the rest of the world. Wakanda doesn't want that scrutiny.
    – Dave
    May 13, 2018 at 14:20
  • They mentioned in the movies that the rest of the world was under the impression that there was very, very little vibranium and that it was all used
    – Marie
    Jul 10, 2018 at 16:46

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