Millennials believe in bitcoin: how has the attitude to cryptocurrencies changed since 2017

Over the past three years, the number of people aware of Bitcoin has grown by 30%, by 27% - who consider it a positive innovation, and by 29% - who trust it more than large banks. 43% of respondents (of which 59% are millennials) believe that bitcoin will be massively used over the next decade. At the same time, 44% of millennials believe that they are likely to buy bitcoin in the next five years. This is the data from a recent study of the information platform The Tokenist. Experts analyzed the change in attitude towards Bitcoin that has occurred since 2017. The results are encouraging and inspire confidence in the early mass adoption of cryptocurrencies.

The Tokenist Survey Methodology and Past Research


In April 2020, The Tokenist polled 4,852 people aged 18 to 65 from 17 countries. Researchers asked respondents the same questions as the authors of studies conducted by BlockChain Capital, BankRate, and eToro in 2017–2019.

BlockChain Capital Survey. In October 2017, more than 2,112 Americans over 18 were interviewed. Most of the data from this study was used by The Tokenist analysts to compare with the results of their own survey, which will be discussed later.

BankRate survey. In July 2018, the company surveyed 1,000 Americans over 18 years of age. The results showed that only 2% consider bitcoin and cryptocurrencies the best investment, and 32% preferred crypto assets as a stock.

eToro Survey. In April 2019, 1,000 Americans aged 20–65 were surveyed. The results of the study confirmed the conventional wisdom that millennials are the target audience of the cryptocurrency market. 43% of them said that they believe more in the cryptocurrency than in the stock market (among people over 30 years old, only 23% are those), 71% are willing to invest in cryptography through traditional financial institutions, half of investors consider adding digital currencies to pension savings.

The authors of this survey cite a similar study by Provoke Insights, in which 59% of American respondents, including the older generation, said they were ready to invest in cryptocurrencies if offered by traditional financial institutions. As you can see, American private investors have long considered cryptocurrencies as a full-fledged asset, but they are ready to invest in it only subject to strict regulation and state protection.

The Tokenist analysts admit that the data is not complete. They rightly recognize the fragmentation and incompleteness of all available polls, which is why they show such diverse data. Therefore, it is still difficult to get an accurate picture of the change in public opinion about bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. But The Tokenist experts are confident that their data reflects general trends.

The Tokenist Poll Results


Let’s review the main results that The Tokenist analysts obtained during the survey.

 ⁃ Over three years, the number of people who prefer bitcoin to traditional assets has increased. More than 45% of respondents would prefer to have bitcoin instead of stocks, real estate and gold - this is 13% more than in 2017. Moreover, among the millennials, their share is 92% - against 68% earlier.
Comparison of the preference for bitcoin in the equivalent of $1,000 to other assets (here and below from left to right in the diagram): government bonds - increased from 18% to 38%, shares - decreased from 14% to 12%, real estate - increased from 12% to 17%, and gold  - increased from 8% to 16%. Here and below, black is the data for 2017, and blue for 2020. Moreover, among the millenials, these data are higher. Source.

 ⁃ From 30% to 61%, the number of people more or less familiar with bitcoin has increased, from 2% to 6% the number of respondents owning or owning it. Among millennials, the number of people familiar with the military-technical cooperation has grown from 42% to 78%, and coin owners from 4% to 14% (while 44% of millennials believe that they will buy a military-technical cooperation over the next five years). Even more striking, the number of people over 65 years old familiar with the military-technical cooperation increased by 51%. The authors of the study suggest that this is due to the growing mention of bitcoin in the media and the growing support for coins from the side of trade.
Comparison of the answers to the question “How well are you familiar with bitcoin?”. Answer options: “own or owned a military-technical cooperation”, “knowledgeable”, “a little familiar”, “heard something”, “never heard of it”. Source.

 ⁃ From 33% to 60%, the number of people who agree that Bitcoin is a positive innovation in financial technology has increased.
Comparison of answers to the question “How much do you agree or disagree with the statement that Bitcoin is a positive innovation in financial technologies?”  Answer options: “totally agree”, “rather agree”, “rather disagree”, “disagree”, “completely disagree”. Source.

 ⁃ From 18% to 47%, the number of people trusting MTC more than large banks has increased. Among the millennials surveyed, there are 51%, and among older people, only 7%.  Analysts at The Tokenist suggest that this increase in confidence in Bitcoin is due to the increased adoption of the MTC and the recent stock market volatility.
Comparison of answers to the question “What is more reliable: Bitcoin or large banks?”. Source.

 ⁃ Confidence that Bitcoin will become a widely used currency has increased over the past three years. The number of respondents (from 44% to 60% among millennials) who believe that most people will use bitcoin over the next decade has increased from 28% to 43%. These shifts are likely the result of increased support for the first cryptocurrency among retailers and, above all, large retailers. However, at the same time, the respondents remain prejudiced about the nature of the first cryptocurrency. From 46% to 37%, the number of respondents who believe that Bitcoin is a bubble has decreased. And among the millennials only 24% think so, and among the older generation - 50%.

In general, the authors of the survey rate its results as “amazing.”  
We found increased awareness and growing confidence in bitcoin among all the age and gender groups surveyed.  This effect was most pronounced among respondents who were millennials ... ”, the document says.

The Tokenist analysts believe that the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and unprecedented measures of economic support from the US Federal Reserve (FED) contributed to the growth of interest and confidence in Bitcoin on the part of the Americans. States are hard hit by the virus: unemployment rose from 3.5% in February (the lowest level for half a century) to 15% in April (record levels since the Great Depression).

The bear market does not reduce confidence in bitcoin


The Tokenist data is in good agreement with the Harris Poll survey. The company's analysts interviewed Americans in October 2017 and April 2019 and compared the figures. Here's how the number of respondents increased and their attitude to cryptocurrencies over two years:

 ⁃ Bitcoin awareness rose from 77% to 89%;

 ⁃ From 2% to 11%, the number of MTC owners increased;

 ⁃ From 34% to 43%, the number of respondents who consider Bitcoin a positive financial innovation has increased;

 ⁃ From 28% to 33%, the number of those who believe that bitcoin will be widely distributed over the next 10 years has increased;

 ⁃ From 19% to 27%, the number of respondents who believe that they will buy bitcoin in the next five years has increased.

Given that the first survey was conducted during the bull market, and the second at the bear market, the researchers were confident that they would note a decrease in confidence in bitcoin. However, despite the long bearish period, the positive sentiment regarding Bitcoin in the United States increased significantly in all age groups. But most of all, Bitcoin awareness and willingness to invest in it has grown among people aged 18 to 34 years.

Europeans are cautious about cryptocurrencies


In 2018, the ING Group, a Dutch financial conglomerate, surveyed nearly 15,000 people in the US, Europe, and Australia:

 ⁃ 55% of respondents heard or were familiar with bitcoin, up to 10% owned or own cryptocurrencies (in Turkey - up to 18%).

 ⁃ 35% of Europeans thought cryptocurrencies were the money of the future.

 ⁃ 25% were going to buy cryptocurrency in the future.

 ⁃ 23% were ready to use them in everyday spending.

At the same time, most preferred traditional assets to digital, 30% would never have invested in cryptocurrencies.

At the same time, the ING Group study, conducted in August 2019 and covering 12 countries, noted a weakening of people's faith in cryptocurrencies. The residents of Austria least trust Bitcoin - only 13% against 20% in 2018, despite the fact that the country took first place in terms of awareness of the first cryptocurrency. Only respondents from Turkey, Poland and Romania were optimistic about digital assets. So, in Turkey, 62% of respondents are sure of the successful development of bitcoin and 30% are ready to receive a salary in it.

Statistics of respondents for countries that trust cryptocurrencies, according to the ING Group. Source.

The bitFlyer Europe exchange polled 10,000 Europeans from 10 countries in 2019 and 2020. Over the year, the number of people who are confident that cryptocurrencies will not go anywhere in the next 10 years has increased from 63% to 66%. At the same time, only 49% believe in the long existence of bitcoin, and only 7% believe in its use for investment.

Statistics of respondents for countries that believe in the existence of cryptocurrencies over the next 10 years, according to bitFlyer Europe for 2019 and 2020. Source.

Cryptocurrencies in Russia are still unpopular


As for Russia, there is growing awareness of cryptocurrencies, but they are still unpopular.

In July 2017, according to the National Agency for Financial Research (NAFI), in Russia, only 28% of respondents heard something about cryptocurrencies. 38% of respondents considered their purchase a profitable investment, with 52% among millennials of such people, and 44% among university graduates. 39% considered digital assets an unreliable acquisition, 47% believed that cryptocurrencies were just a fad and a temporary phenomenon, but 31% saw the money of the future in them. 48% believed that cryptocurrencies should not be prohibited.

In 2018, a survey conducted by Romir private research holding showed that 44% of respondents already have some idea of   digital assets, but only 13% (48% of which are under the age of 31) can explain what it is  ready to buy - 11%, already own an asset - 2%. The survey revealed the relationship between respondents' age and income and their confidence in cryptocurrencies: the younger and wealthier the respondent, the more he is inclined to trust them. The authors of the study noted that the Russians, despite the increase in awareness, continue to maintain annoying skepticism regarding digital assets.

At the beginning of 2019, according to the information resource “Anetologist”, 70% of respondents heard about cryptocurrency, 23% were familiar with it. Among respondents with incomes above 70,000 rubles per month, this share was 37%, and among those earning up to 10,000 rubles, only 15%. 54% of those who know about cryptocurrencies are ready to keep their savings in them, but 49% of them are a small amount, and only 5% are all savings. 14% of respondents had experience in trading cryptocurrencies, 10% owned them at the time of the survey. As a temporary phenomenon, 36% perceived digital assets, the same number considered them an unprotected method of investing, 21% treated them as a fraudulent pyramid scheme, 13% as a money laundering tool.

65% believed that cryptocurrencies would not go into everyday life, 70% did not believe that they were able to replace fiat funds. It is encouraging that at the same time, 29% believed that crypto assets provide independence from banks and the state, 27% considered them the future of the monetary system.

According to Kaspersky Lab, at the beginning of last year, only 37% of Russians knew what cryptocurrency was, although not everyone understood how it worked. 42% of our compatriots did not use crypto assets and did not intend to do this in the future. Only 6% have ever owned crypto coins.

However, according to the All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM), in April 2019, 59% of Russians knew what bitcoin was, another 18% heard this term. Among people under 24, with higher education and residents of the capitals, there are up to 75%. However, actual knowledge of the military-technical cooperation remains weak. Unfortunately, the cryptocurrency has not yet gained popularity in Russia: 65% of respondents consider investing in the military-technical cooperation a bad idea (recall that according to NAFI in 2017, this figure was only 39%), only 2% bought a coin.

There are no data for 2020 yet. But, judging by the trend, most Russians still treat cryptocurrencies with distrust and are not familiar with them.

Institutionals recognize cryptocurrencies as assets


In 2017, institutions almost did not care about digital assets. It is noteworthy that, according to a survey of the brokerage firm Triad Securities, conducted in November 2017, 39% of institutional traders considered bitcoin a bubble that would inevitably burst. But the development of the market has changed everything - the interest of the largest investors in cryptocurrencies is steadily growing.

So, according to a recent survey of Fidelity Digital Assets, the cryptocurrency division of Fidelity Investments, conducted from November 2019 to March 2020:

 • 80% of 774 American and European investors surveyed consider cryptocurrency an attractive investment asset;

 • 60% believe that digital assets may be in their portfolios;

 • Currently, 27% of investors from the United States and 45% of investors from Europe are investing in them.

It is noteworthy that 25% of European investors are positive about the fact that some digital assets are free from government intervention, while among American investors only 10%. A survey conducted by Fidelity a year earlier (not including European investors) showed that cryptocurrencies were also considered attractive by about 80% of the investors surveyed, 47% thought that they should be in their portfolios, but owned only 22% of them.

In 2018, Fidelity interviewed 905 institutional investors from 25 countries, and 80% of them hoped that by 2025, blockchain and similar technologies would radically change the industry.

Unlike ordinary users and people far from the crypto world, it is much easier to track changes in institutional attitudes towards digital currencies. Over the past three years, a regulated market has appeared for them, and infrastructure is developing: financial companies are racing to launch platforms and services for institutions, custodial services have appeared, in pursuit of customers, companies are fighting for the role of the prime prime broker of the industry, the volume of institutional investments is growing, there are many  reliable ways to buy a MTC, the question of launching a crypto-ETF has repeatedly been raised.

Institutional investors themselves have ceased to regard bitcoin as a bubble - now it is a tool to diversify portfolios in a crisis and hedge inflation risks.

To the conclusion


The above data inspire optimism regarding the massive adoption of cryptocurrencies. Young people under 30 years of age, as well as people with higher education and stable income are the most loyal and interested audience of digital assets. As regulatory problems are resolved and traditional financial companies enter the cryptocurrency market, they will use cryptocurrencies and invest more in them.

It is also important that faith in the traditional financial system has been weakening for more than 10 years in a row, and the COVID-19 pandemic only accelerated this process. Bitcoin, born of a wave of disappointment in the banking system, as well as other cryptocurrencies, can become the main beneficiaries of this trend.

But the most eloquent about the growth of trust in cryptocurrencies is the number of their users.
The chart shows the number of Blockchain.com wallet users (in millions) worldwide from the third quarter of 2016 to the first quarter of 2020, according to Statista.com. Source.

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