Behind the Success of Some Gen X Crypto Investors

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Typically, Generation X is more closely associated with hip-hop, grunge and the early adoption of personal computers than success in crypto trading. When you think of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin and the rest, it’s probably young millennials and Gen Zers who come to mind — not middle-aged adults in their early 40s to late 50s.

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In terms of the percentage of crypto investors by age, that’s mostly accurate. According to a new study from GOBankingRates, Gen Xers are less likely to invest in crypto than younger sets — but far more likely than all the other generations to score big profits when they do.

So what’s behind the success of crypto investors who were babies in the ’60s and ’70s, children in the ’70s and ’80s and teenagers in the ’80s and ’90s?

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In most cases, as it turns out, Generation X is winning big because Generation X is betting big.

Crypto’s Generational Divide Runs Straight Through Gen X

The study, which surveyed more than 1,000 American adults about their attitudes and experience with cryptocurrency, produced fairly predictable results: Younger sets are more likely to invest in cryptocurrency than older demographics.

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From the dawn of adulthood through the start of middle age, about one-third of the people surveyed invest in cryptocurrency with a fair amount of consistency throughout. Here’s a look at the percentage of crypto investors in each of the younger age groups:

  • 18-24: 32.72%
  • 25-34: 36.81%
  • 35-44: 31.34%

Once you get to the next age bracket — 45- to 54-year-olds, which constitutes the bulk of Generation X — the percentage of crypto investors drops all the way down to 18.5%, which is only a little more than half of their Gen Z and millennial counterparts.

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Only about 12% of 55- to 64-year-olds invest in crypto, as well as about 5% of those 65 and up.

When Older Investors Do Buy Into Crypto, They Buy in Big

Among the respondents who confirmed that they partake in cryptocurrency, a striking pattern emerged. Young people were highly unlikely to have half of their investments or more tied up in crypto — less than 4% of 18- to 24-year-olds, less than 6% of 25- to 34-year-olds and less than 8% of 35- to 44-year-olds.

But incredibly, nearly 17% of the 55- to 64-year-olds who invest in crypto have at least half their money invested in digital coins. About 12.5% of the Gen Xers in the middle — the next-biggest percentage by far — can say the same.

While older sets are less likely to invest in crypto, the study shows, they’re much more likely to go all in when they do.

Big Gambles Lead to Big Profits

Although young baby boomers were more likely than Gen X to dedicate at least half of their investments to crypto, Gen Xers were the most likely by far to clean up with the big wins.

Less than 5% of 25- to 44-year-olds could claim lifetime crypto profits of $50,000 or more, along with less than 8% of Gen Zers and less than 6% of boomers.

Only one demographic could claim double-digit percentages who hit an all-time crypto jackpot worth at least $50,000. A full 12.5% of crypto-investing Gen Xers took home profits that got them at least halfway to six figures.

Gen X: A Tiny But Bold Sliver of the Crypto Market

A recent report from the fintech company Stilt confirms the findings of the GOBankingRates study while also adding some interesting new details. It found that a whopping 94% of all crypto investors are Gen Zers and millennials between the ages of 18 and 40. Gen X makes up just shy of 5% with baby boomers making up the other 1.22%.

  • Gen Z buyers outnumber Gen X buyers by a multiplier of 3.5
  • Millennial buyers outnumber Gen X buyers by a multiplier of 15.5

The older you are, the less likely you are to invest in crypto — but here, too, it seems that Gen X wins the big purses by playing the big hands. Here’s a look at the average 12-month crypto purchase for each age group, according to the Stilt study:

  • Gen Z: $6,120
  • Millennials: 8,596
  • Gen X: $9,611
  • Baby boomers: $4,567

While they make up less than 5% of all crypto buyers, when Gen Xers do get in on the action, they plunk down 1.6 times more than Gen Z and 1.1 times more than millennials.

The results are clear. Young people thoroughly dominate the cryptocurrency investing market in terms of numbers, but while their older siblings and cousins in Generation X tend to sit on the sidelines, they bet big to win big when they get in the game.

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About the Author

Andrew Lisa has been writing professionally since 2001. An award-winning writer, Andrew was formerly one of the youngest nationally distributed columnists for the largest newspaper syndicate in the country, the Gannett News Service. He worked as the business section editor for amNewYork, the most widely distributed newspaper in Manhattan, and worked as a copy editor for TheStreet.com, a financial publication in the heart of Wall Street's investment community in New York City.

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