Crypto is becoming mainstream thanks to a slew of factors, including institutional adoption, ease of access due to trading apps and social media, as well as broader acceptance and awareness. A new Visa survey titled “The Crypto Phenomenon: Consumer Attitudes and Usage” reinforces this notion, indicating that universal awareness of cryptocurrency is at 94% globally among adults with discretion over their household finances. In the resulting data, Visa indicates that there are five types of crypto-aware consumers in the contemporary marketplace: active owners, passive owners, skeptics, those curious, and those unengaged.
While crypto adoption is still nascent, it is significant — and growing fast. Nearly one in three crypto-aware consumers already own or use cryptocurrency (21% of respondents were classified as active owners, and 11% as passive owners) with 62% of all crypto holders saying that their ownership or use of cryptocurrency has increased in the past year. A full 66% of crypto owners reported that they will increase the share of their investable assets parked in crypto during the next 12 months.
In the survey, Visa identifies several demographics in relationship to crypto engagement.
Age, Gender, Ethnicity, Nationality, Income Statistically Significant When It Comes to Crypto, Survey Says
First, engagement skews male, as almost two in three consumers who transact with cryptocurrency are men — 65% of active owners — while a strong majority of completely unengaged consumers — 57% — are women.
One exception to this trend exists in Hong Kong, where there is little difference in crypto market participation between the genders.
Further, Visa says that engagement with crypto strongly correlates with age. Those with stronger crypto market engagement tend to be younger, whereas those with weaker — or no — engagement tend to be older. Engagement with crypto is also stronger in emerging markets such as Argentina, Brazil, and South Africa.
In the U.S., while white Americans represent more than half of crypto owners, non-white consumers are leading the engagement with crypto. While 32% of survey respondents in the U.S. are nonwhite, non-white Americans account for 44% of those who own cryptocurrency, compared to only 19% of those that are completely unengaged, the survey finds.
Finally, in some markets surveyed, wealthier consumers tend to be more likely to engage with crypto. While income does not always play a role in adoption, in Australia, the UK, Argentina, and Brazil, engagement is correlated with income or socioeconomic level per the data.
The Curious, the Skeptical, and the Unengaged
Visa’s findings reveal that “curious consumers” represent 21% of respondents — those who have taken steps to learn about crypto and have positive perceptions of the market, but have yet to purchase any cryptocurrency of their own.
This hesitance may be spurred on by a belief in the difficulty of dealing with crypto: the curious cohort is far less likely to believe cryptocurrency is easy to use, with 38% of curious respondents thinking as much versus 67% of crypto owners saying so.
Consumers that are curious about crypto mostly belong to Gen X or the millennial generations, and are slightly more likely to be female rather than male.
On the other hand, crypto skeptics represent 11% of respondents globally. Members of this group are defined as those who have taken steps to learn about cryptocurrency, but haven’t purchased any — and have negative perceptions of it.
Skeptics are less favorable toward crypto, perhaps due to their increased preference for small risks with moderate rewards, the survey notes.
In addition, those categorized as crypto skeptics skew older than those labelled as curious consumers. Skeptics are more likely to belong to the baby boomer generation, with 31% of skeptics belonging to this age group. Skeptics are equally likely to be male or female, and generally hear about crypto via word of mouth (39% of the time) and news websites (36% of the time).
As for those unengaged with crypto — 37% of respondents across the globe, per Visa — they are consumers who have done no research into crypto and/or are indifferent about the concept. Unengaged consumers are attitudinally very similar to skeptics, per the data.
Those unengaged with crypto tend to be older than members of other respondent groups, and are most likely to be baby boomers as well. A majority of the unengaged are women (57%). Those unengaged with crypto are more likely to hear about cryptocurrency while watching television (30%) — or from friends and family (28%) — than any other single source.
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