Jul 15 2021
Cryptocurrency continues to make headlines. From being called the next gold rush of the financial world to sudden booms and price drops, there is a ton of hype around digital investments. While Bitcoin, the original cryptocurrency, has been around since 2009, it’s become so much more mainstream of late that peer-to-peer payment service Venmo recently introduced new features that support the use of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin. NFTs (a.k.a “non-fungible tokens”) in particular have also been everywhere, becoming the internet’s latest obsession in the last few months. Earlier this year, Elon Musk, who Gen Z and Millennials say is one of the individuals who define their generation, made Dogecoin go viral by simply tweeting “Doge.” Musk’s viral moment sent its value up by 20%—and made it surge 44%.
The value and future of NFTs and crypto seem to be debated daily. But one fairly consistent narrative about crypto is that Gen Z and Millennials are wild about investing in it. NBC called “Gen Z and young millennial investors” “bullish on cryptocurrency and the technology that surrounds it.” Business Insider declared that “Millennials’ love affair with crypto is burning red-hot right now.” VICE claims that Gen Z sees cryptocurrency as a “safety net.” But is it really true that these generations are rushing to buy into crypto investing?
The Reddit-GameStop frenzy from the beginning of the year certainly played a hand in generating a bigger interest in investing among young people, and we told you how some of Gen Z and Millennials’ top financial goals are to buy stocks and to start investing, but are they really so eager to jump into cryptocurrencies? YPulse’s most recent financial survey asked Gen Z and Millennials if they’re interested in getting into cryptocurrency:
YPulse’s fintech research found that more than half (60%) of 13-39-year-olds say they are interested in investing in cryptocurrency. But there’s a massive difference between the two generations, with 64% of Millennials saying they are interested in investing in cryptocurrency compared to 44% of Gen Z. In fact, 40% of Millennials completely agreed with the statement “I’m interested in investing in cryptocurrency,” compared to 29% of Gen Z.” Despite some headlines attributing crypto’s popularity to the younger generation, they’re clearly not as ready to jump into the wild west of digital investment. When we look at the age groups that are most likely to say they are interested in investing in cryptocurrency, 66% of 25-39-year-olds are compared to 47% of 18-24-year-olds, and 43% of 13-17-year-olds. According to BlackRock’s CIO of fixed income, Bitcoin is “here to stay” thanks to Millennials’ “openness to cryptocurrency and digital payments.” But Gen Z is clearly not as willing to take the risk, either because their finances are not as established, leaving them with little money to “play” with, or because they are more risk-averse when it comes to financial decisions. If brands are interested in playing into crypto mania, it might be beneficial to find ways to bridge the gap between the two generations, or at least keep in mind that cryptocurrency isn’t necessarily Gen Z catnip.
But these aren’t the only differences we see in the data. When it comes down to who is really driving the popularity of crypto, it’s clear that it’s Millennial males specifically:
Males from both generations are more likely to invest in cryptocurrency than females, with 50% of 13-19-year-olds and 73% of 20-38-year-olds saying they’re interested. Meanwhile, only 38% of 13-39-year-old females are interested in investing in cryptocurrency, while 55% of 20-38-year-olds say they’re interested. Millennial males are by far most likely to say they’re interested in investing in crypto.
According to a Bitcoin-focused U.K. fintech with tens of thousands of users, women and older investors are “largely staying out of the crypto frenzy,” leaving young men to be significantly overrepresented. Bitcoin app Mode reported that the “overwhelming majority” of people using its app are men—making up 79% of users to just 21% of women. Data from the previous eToro report found that only 15% of Bitcoin traders are women. While the percentage of female investors slightly increased from 10% at the beginning of 2020, the number remains relatively low. Additionally, two experts found that men trade stocks 45% more frequently than women, which is a symptom of “overconfidence.”
YPulse’s data consistently shows that young females are not as confident, or as willing to take risks with their money as young males. Our fintech survey found that 65% of 13-39-year-olds agree “I don’t mind putting my money at risk if it gives me the potential for greater returns,” compared to 52% of Millennial females. They’re also far more likely to agree “Playing the stock market is fun,” while young females are more likely than males to agree “I just want to put money into a fund and forget about it.” Young females tend to lack confidence in their financial abilities—and much more. When it comes to investing, that means they’re not as willing to roll the dice, which currently makes cryptocurrency a Millennial-male dominated area.
YPulse Business users can access the full fintech behavioral report and data here.
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