SDF Blog

The State of Stablecoins

For people to have equitable access to the global financial system, they need ways to access it that are easy to use, affordable, and safe. As we enter 2021, SDF is more focused than ever on realizing the full potential of blockchain and cryptocurrency to make these solutions a reality and further mainstream adoption. 

In collaboration with digital payment platform Wirex, we set out to better understand the day-to-day needs and demands of people making payments. After surveying our audiences and analyzing the data, we’ve summarized our findings in The Future of Money: Cryptocurrency Adoption in 2021. This report provides insight on user profiles, spending habits, and overall sentiment towards cryptocurrency.

Methodology

Over the course of three weeks, Wirex and SDF each sent out two rounds of emails to our respective databases. We asked for volunteers to fill out a survey focused on the way people conduct cross-border payments. Participation in this survey was anonymous, and all data would be aggregated in the final report.

We understand that our respondents’ views are not representative of the general populace. The fact that they receive communications on Wirex or Stellar indicates an interest in cryptocurrency and blockchain that goes beyond the understanding of the average person.

Here’s a view of our respondents:

  • 3,834 people responded in total
  • 80% identified as male, 18% as female
  • 81% were based in Europe, 17% in APAC
  • 83% were above the age of 35

Based on their responses, we were able to glean several interesting insights regarding their spending habits, especially when it comes to cross-border transactions. 

Less than 1% is the sweet spot for transaction fees

A good portion of our respondents (75% to be exact) sends money abroad, but a majority of them also believe that transaction fees above 1% are too high. Since most of our respondents pay between $101 to $500 per international transaction, a fee as low as $1.01 is seen as costly. The more a person has to pay in transaction fees, the more they would be willing to consider cheaper alternatives to money transfer operators (MTOs). This includes digital assets.

Transaction fees are often charged to cover operating costs, a byproduct of working with different intermediaries and systems. By integrating digital assets into their solutions, these financial institutions and MTOs can reduce operating costs, optimize for lower transaction fees, and capture market share by advertising this alternative form of payment – a competitive boon all around. 

Cryptocurrency has gone mainstream, but stablecoins haven’t

According to Statista, 40 million people are using cryptocurrency in some shape and form, and this number is only going to grow bigger as blockchain wallets become more popular. Despite the increasing usage, critics argue that crypto is unlikely to achieve mainstream adoption due to volatile price fluctuations and a lack of real-world use cases.

Stablecoins have been proposed as a solution to that problem. But another problem arises, which is that people are unaware of what stablecoins – cryptocurrencies backed by stable assets such as gold or US dollars – are, much less what they can accomplish. 75% of our respondents stated they had never heard of stablecoins before, and this is an audience more familiar with crypto than the general public. 

Education regarding how stablecoins can power digital payments is a top priority, as it can frame cryptocurrency within actual use cases that the average person can see themselves applying.

Cryptocurrency is deemed safe by most, but there’s a long way to go

Crypto has been scrutinized over the past few years due to the Crypto Bubble of 2017. But the narrative of crypto being harmful or unsafe to use is unraveling as more positive use cases have been demonstrated, leading to more confidence in using the technology in transactions. Well-designed user experience, robust education, and support will continue to bolster this trend.

A huge majority of our respondents (86%) reported that they feel safe using crypto. As the blockchain industry shoots for, here are some interesting splits between demographics to note. More male respondents (87.5%) felt safe using crypto than female respondents (80.4%), 24-34 year olds felt the most secure using cryptocurrency (90.6%) compared to their 65+ counterparts (80.4%). Being aware of these gaps highlight opportunities for businesses to design solutions and products for underserved demographics who represent a sizable portion of the market.

These are just a few of the many insights we’ve gathered from the extensive responses. If you want to learn the rest, check out our report and read on! 


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