SDF Blog

Entering the Mainstream: Cryptocurrency Adoption in 2022

At the beginning of 2021, we were optimistic that blockchain technology and cryptocurrency would gain traction with the masses. What we weren’t prepared for was by how much. News mentions of blockchain and crypto skyrocketed as countless people jumped into the conversation, discussing everything from NFTs to environmental impact to Web3. One of the most significant moments illustrating that cryptocurrency had made its mark in the public consciousness was when the Biden Administration issued the first-ever executive order focused on digital assets. The message was clear – crypto is here to stay.

To capture the attitudes of today when it comes to crypto, we’ve teamed up with digital payment platform Wirex once again to launch Entering the Mainstream: Cryptocurrency Adoption in 2022. Last year’s report provided insight into user profiles, spending habits, and overall sentiment towards cryptocurrency. This year? We’re building on our earlier findings, while addressing any previous gaps and identifying new trends that have emerged in the past year. With this report, we looked to conduct a more in-depth study to compare sentiment and usage of cryptocurrency in four specific markets.

Methodology

To gather data for this report, Wirex and SDF formulated an 18-question survey, which covered topics including banking habits, methods of sending money abroad, cryptocurrency ownership, concerns surrounding cryptocurrency, and the future of cryptocurrency. Respondents were advised that results would remain anonymous. 

Last year, we utilitzed our own company lists and received responses from 89 countries; this year, we wanted to be more strategic with audience segmentation. The idea was to gauge more generally whether a non-crypto audience knows about and uses cryptocurrency. We were also keen to understand whether there would be notable differences between more and less economically developed countries. So, the team decided to highlight four specific countries which we believe represent a range of socioeconomic levels and cultural attitudes: the UK, the US, Singapore, and Mexico.

The survey was conducted in two main parts. First, Wirex and SDF used the services of a reputable third-party research company, 72Point, to gather a representative sample of the general population. We surveyed 2,000 people in each of the four target countries from late September to early October 2021, comprising a mix of crypto-aware and non-crypto aware individuals. Next, we reached out Wirex and Stellar users living in these countries via two rounds of emails to our databases and on our respective social media channels, receiving another 1,257 responses. Combining Wirex and SDF’s results with those of 72Point meant that both people familiar with crypto and a broader group of people more representative of the general population were included.

Based on all of the responses, we were able to draw out several popular misconceptions of cryptocurrency and explain why they no longer apply today – so read on below! 

MYTH: Crypto is out of the norm

Despite commanding plenty of media interest, crypto is still not considered a part of “normal” finance by many, and sentiment towards it remains largely negative. Critics argue that there are still significant obstacles preventing cryptocurrency from being adopted by a mainstream audience any time soon.

But in reality, crypto has reached the mainstream through-and-through. Our analysis shows that:

  • 81% of the general population have heard of cryptocurrency, and 39% own or have owned crypto.
  • 59% of the Wirex & Stellar databases have sent crypto to someone else, compared to 45% of the general population. 
  • 60% of the Wirex & Stellar databases have heard of stablecoins, up from 25% last year.
  • 55% of the Wirex & Stellar databases, and 35% of the general population, are more likely to use cryptocurrency now than they were a year ago.

What is even more striking is how people are not just holding cryptocurrency; rather, they view cryptocurrencies as a viable alternative to traditional money transfer services. 74% of the Wirex and SDF databases and 52% of the general population indicated they strongly/somewhat agree with the former statement, demonstrating significant inroads in this line of thinking.

MYTH: Only millennial males use crypto

Long-held stereotypes suggest that the primary crypto users are young, tech-savvy men. However, there is ample evidence that points to the contrary – a large number of both men and women, as well as those who belong to older demographics, also own crypto.

The truth is that crypto has grown up – strikingly, women and older adults are growing more aware of its benefits and beginning to use it more often. The data shows:

  • Of the general population, 50% of women compared to 34% of men say that one of their main concerns about crypto is that they don’t know how to use it.
  • Of those who had heard of cryptocurrency before within the general population, 25-34 year olds are most likely to have ever owned cryptocurrency (55%), with those aged 65+ the least likely (12%).
  • Of the Mexican population, those aged 65 and over on average send the most money abroad each time (MEP 4,714.66), while Mexican crypto users of the same age are most likely to have sent cryptocurrency to someone in another country (40%).

The gaps between millennial males and other demographics are shrinking, slowly but surely. The opportunities to further close these gaps are apparent, especially when taking other data into account. In a study conducted by Fidelity Investments, “[i]n sifting through more than 8 million investment accounts, Fidelity discovered that women not only save more than men, 0.4 percent, their investments earn more annually, also 0.4 percent.” Furthermore, Wirex and SDF data shows that women are also just as likely as men to use cryptocurrency as a method of sending money overseas.

By designing more accessible products and creating educational resources targeted to these demographics, businesses and developers are able to serve the needs of underrepresented audiences and create greater financial inclusion for all.

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These are just a few of the many insights we’ve gathered for this year. Want to learn the rest? Download our report

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