Cryptocurrencies have been burdened since their inception with the stigma of confusion and mixed press coverage. On top of this, consumers tend to stay loyal to their traditional forms of finance like high-street banking.
So what is the appetite for cryptocurrencies? Just how willing are people to take the plunge? And what might be holding them back?
We asked 500 US consumers about their attitudes towards cryptocurrencies and the results are encouraging for providers and vendors. See the full results from our research.
4/5 people are open to cryptocurrencies
When we asked about their attitude towards using or investing in cryptocurrencies, a sizeable 31.2% said they’ll definitely use or invest in crypto. This shows an impressive number of consumers are already on board and ready to become users of cryptocurrencies. And 48.8% said they might use or invest in crypto, signalling a potentially huge market for providers and vendors.
On the other side of the debate, 19.6% of Americans said they definitely won’t use or invest in cryptocurrencies. While this is a significant chunk of consumers, it’s also unsurprising given the lukewarm reputation cryptocurrencies have in the media and the public at large.
General understanding remains a key barrier
When we followed up by asking the 19.6% why they aren’t open to crypto, a lack of understanding was the top reason – 49.5% said this. And other reasons weren’t far behind – lack of trust, crypto’s unpredictability and a fear of losing money were chosen by around 40% of respondents.
In fact just one fifth (17.2%) of everyone surveyed said they fully understand cryptocurrencies, signalling a huge gap in the public’s knowledge of the sector.
What does this mean for providers of cryptocurrency products and services? What’s clear is that providers need to do more to help consumers understand cryptocurrencies, and to build up trust in them. People are understandably tentative with any new types of financial service and need assurance that it’s secure and trustworthy.
Environmental concerns over bitcoin have been making a splash recently, with Elon Musk saying Tesla would no longer accept the currency as payment. Despite this, just 7.8% of people said environmental concerns were the reason they wouldn’t use cryptocurrencies.
Age-old financial caution is still a key factor
It’s accepted that people tend to exercise caution when being introduced to new financial products and services, for good reason of course. But does the same apply to cryptocurrencies?
We asked people to tell us the features of a cryptocurrency service that are most important to them, and it seems that security is still really important for consumers.
Top of consumers’ list is protection of their funds, with 58.7% saying this is very important. This is somewhat unsurprising given stories about people losing their money due to crypto services going bust. Explanation of the risks involved is also a key consideration – 49.9% deem this very important.
A slight contradiction to the tradition lies in second place however. Getting the best returns on their investment is the second most important factor.
There’s a perception that young people are less cautious than older people when it comes to financial products and services, but our research proves otherwise. Under 35s and over 35s actually have the same list of priorities when thinking about crypto services. And almost the same number of under 35s chose the same ‘very important’ features as over 35s.
What’s absolutely clear from our research is that most consumers are totally up for using cryptocurrencies, but that they’re understandably cautious. Cryptocurrency brands need to assure people that their services are safe, their funds are protected and create a foundation of trust among consumers.