Crypto has become mainstream thanks to a plethora of factors, including institutional adoption, ease of access due to trading and social media applications, as well as wider acceptance and awareness. A new Visa survey titled “The Crypto Phenomenon: Consumer Behavior and Use” reinforces this notion, noting that global awareness of cryptocurrency is as high as 94% globally among adults who have discretion over their family’s finances. In the resulting data, Visa notes that there are five types of crypto-aware consumers in the contemporary market: active owners, passive owners, skeptics, curious, and disengaged owners.
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While cryptocurrency adoption is still nascent, it is significant – and growing rapidly. Nearly one in three crypto-aware consumers already owns or uses cryptocurrency (21% of respondents are rated as active, 11% as passive) with 62% of all crypto holders saying their ownership or use of cryptocurrency has increased in the past year. 66% of cryptocurrency holders report that they will increase the share of their parked investable assets in crypto over the next 12 months.
In the survey, Visa identifies several demographics regarding participation in crypto.
The study shows age, gender, ethnicity, nationality, and income to be statistically significant when it comes to cryptocurrencies
First, participation causes male deviation, as two out of three consumers transacting with cryptocurrency are men – 65% are active owners – while the vast majority of consumers who are not fully engaged – 57% – are women.
There is one exception to this trend in Hong Kong, where there is not much difference in participation in the crypto market by gender.
Moreover, Visa says that dealing with cryptocurrencies is closely related to age. Those with stronger participation in the cryptocurrency market tend to be younger, while those with weaker – or no – participation tend to be older. Cryptocurrency handling is also stronger in emerging markets such as Argentina, Brazil, and South Africa.
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In the United States, while white Americans account for more than half of cryptocurrency owners, non-white consumers lead exposure to cryptocurrency. While 32% of survey respondents in the United States are non-white Americans, non-white Americans account for 44% of those who own cryptocurrency, compared to just 19% of those who do not participate completely, the survey found.
Finally, in some of the markets surveyed, more affluent consumers tend to engage with cryptocurrencies. While income does not always play a role in adoption, in Australia, the United Kingdom, Argentina and Brazil, participation correlates with income or socioeconomic level according to the data.
Curious, skeptical and uninvolved
Visa results reveal that 21% of respondents are “curious consumers” – those who have taken steps to learn about cryptocurrencies and have positive market perceptions, but have not yet purchased any of their cryptocurrency.
This reluctance may be driven by the belief that cryptocurrency is difficult to deal with: the curious group is unlikely to believe that cryptocurrency is easy to use, with 38% of curious respondents thinking the same versus 67% of cryptocurrency owners.
Consumers interested in cryptocurrency mostly belong to Generation X or Millennials, and are more likely to be female than male.
On the other hand, crypto skeptics account for 11% of respondents globally. Members of this group are defined as those who have taken steps to learn about cryptocurrency, but have not purchased any – and have negative perceptions of it.
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The survey indicates that skeptics are less interested in cryptocurrencies, possibly due to their increased preference for small risks with moderate rewards.
Additionally, those who were categorized as crypto skeptics tended to be older than those who were categorized as curious consumers. The skeptics are most likely to belong to the baby boomer generation, with 31% of skeptics belonging to this age group. Skeptics are both likely to be male or female, and generally hear about cryptocurrency via word of mouth (39% of the time) and news sites (36% of the time).
As for those who don’t deal with crypto – 37% of respondents worldwide, per Visa – they are consumers who have not researched crypto and/or are indifferent to the concept. Consumers who are not involved in the situations are very similar to skeptics, according to the data.
Those who are not involved in cryptocurrency tend to be older members of the other respondent groups, and they are also more likely to be baby boomers. The majority of those not involved are women (57%). Those not involved in crypto are more likely to hear about crypto while watching TV (30%) – or from friends and family (28%) – than any other source.
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