Apr 5, 2022 - Economy

Financial flux: Crypto's still a hard sell

Current cryptocurrency owners
Data: Momentive; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Most consumers are steering clear of cryptocurrency, but those buying it tend to be young, male and nonwhite, an Axios-Momentive poll found.

Why it matters: It's hard to avoid hearing about bitcoin and other digital currencies — there are more than 10,000 of them — but many people still consider them too risky or experimental.

Driving the news: An online poll of 2,553 adults conducted March 23-25 by Axios and Momentive (the makers of Survey Monkey) found that young adults dominate ownership.

  • 27% of adults age 18-34 say they own crypto vs. 15% of those 35-64, and just 5% of those 65+.
  • Men are almost twice as likely as women to say they own crypto (21% vs. 12%).
  • 23% of Asians and 19% of Hispanics currently own crypto, slightly higher than whites (15%), Blacks (15%) and adults of another race (14%).
  • Overall, 16% of adults say they currently own cryptocurrency, yet the overwhelming majority (81%) don’t.

When asked their opinion of bitcoin (specifically), 34% said it was "too risky to invest in and/or susceptible to fraud."

  • 21% called it "a good investment opportunity, but not as useful as a currency to purchase goods and services."
  • 20% dumped on it, calling it "a worthless currency that will eventually crash."
  • And 9% said it was a useful form of currency that provides a much-needed alternative to U.S. dollars.

The intrigue: Mayors of cities like Miami and New York are pitching bitcoin as a way to address income inequality.

  • "Most people who are poor have their money in a bank account that earns negligible interest," Mayor Francis Suarez of Miami tells Axios. Because of inflation, "the people are losing purchasing power — they're actually becoming poorer."

Retirement security: Separately, the poll asked people if they felt confident that today’s younger workers would be able to save enough to retire comfortably — and only 25% said "yes."

  • Older adults (age 65+) were more likely to lack confidence compared with younger ones (76% vs. 64%).
  • Confidence levels were highest among Black respondents (43%), followed by Hispanics (37%), Asians (31%) and whites (18%).

What's next: Axios has introduced a new crypto newsletter — sign up here.

Methodology: The Axios-Momentive online poll was conducted March 23-25, 2022, among a national sample of 2,553 adults. Respondents were selected from the more than 2 million people who take surveys on the Momentive platform each day. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 2 percentage points. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 18 and over.

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