Bitcoin (BTC)–A poll released by the analytics firm Harris Insights earlier in the month has revealed that roughly 8 percent of American adults are invested in cryptocurrency. While this number pales in comparison to a similar Gallup poll figure conducted in 2016, which found about 52 percent of Americans own stock, it does show a substantial makeup of investing for the relatively young industry.
The results come from a survey first circulated in June 2018, in conjunction with the cryptocurrency app Gem. In addition to finding 8 percent of adults currently invested in cryptocurrency, a large response to digital assets was negative, with 41 percent of the 2,000 polled stating they were not invested in crypto and nothing could motivate them to change their mind into doing so. Similar to previous reported findings, the largest reason for the lack of interest in cryptocurrency was price volatility and belief that the current market is still in a ‘Wild West’ phase, two risky features that make the form of investment less appealing to older generations. However, the poll did find that younger investors and those with less overall capital were much more willing to participate in the risky market, with Gem’s founder and CEO Micah Winkelspecht saying,
“We find that younger people with less income are more willing to put money in crypto,. My guess is that crypto is of the digital age. And the younger generation is of the digital age and used to doing everything on the internet.”
One of the more surprising results from the survey was the reluctance of polled adults, of any age, earning over $100,000 annually to invest in cryptocurrency, with the percentage of crypto investors increasing with decreased yearly income. In addition to cryptocurrencies being more in vogue with younger generations, Winkelspecht also posits that the upside of crypto investing outweighs the risk of loss and volatility to younger adults with less overall capital. He also admits that the trend of less wealthy investors putting money into cryptocurrency could be an effort to ‘get rich quick,’ ignoring the significant risks posed by the market in an effort to cash in on the regular double-digit swings of the industry.
“The cryptocurrency space is still in its Wild West phase, so there’s potentially some of that going on. When you have less to protect, you are more willing to take the risk.”
As Fortune points out, the survey was conducted in the middle of an extremely bearish year for cryptocurrency, with Bitcoin falling from an all time high last December of near $20,000 to below $7000, making the investment appear far more volatile with less enticing upside than if the same survey was conducted during last year’s bullish fourth quarter. Rather than continuing to build excitement for blockchain, Bitcoin and crypto adoption, most of the conversation surrounding the industry in 2018 has shifted to increased regulation and the possibility of a Bitcoin-based Exchange-Traded fund.
Despite only 8 percent of polled investors currently participating in cryptocurrency, the survey found that 50 percent of American adults are interested in trying out the asset class in the future, similar to a finding reported earlier in the month that cryptocurrency will make up 5 percent of all investments in 2019. With the SEC still planning to weigh in on the debate over Bitcoin ETFs, it is possible that the market will continue to grow exponentially in response to increased regulation enticing institutional investors.