Twelve years after the Bitcoin network came into existence in 2009, Security.org asked nearly 1,300 U.S adults about their familiarity, ownership, and confidence in cryptocurrencies, from Dogecoin to Ethereum, and everything in between. One highlight? Nearly 15 million Americans plan to purchase crypto for the first time in the next year.
According to our cryptocurrency research, nearly half of Americans are somewhat to very familiar with cryptocurrency. Currently, 31 percent of those familiar with crypto own some themselves, but 12 percent said they plan to buy some in the next 12 months. This means that approximately 50 million Americans will be holders (or HODLers, in crypto parlance) sometime in 2022.
Do you own any cryptocurrency?
Yes, I currently own some: 31%
No, but I definitely plan to purchase some in the next 12 months: 12%
No, but I might consider it in the future: 42%
No, and I don't ever plan to purchase any: 15%
Most Americans still are not quite understanding just how volatile these assets can be. The great upside potential is mirrored by similar downside potential. According to those familiar with it, the greatest benefits of cryptocurrency are the same as its greatest risks.
Which of these do you believe is the greatest benefit of cryptocurrency?
Potential price increases: 33%
Avoiding banking/transaction fees: 22%
Investments are out of bank and government oversight: 20%
Other (please specify): 5%
Over a third believed that potential price increases are the greatest benefit of cryptocurrency while avoiding banking / transaction fees took second place at 22 percent. However, respondents’ greatest concern with cryptocurrency was unstable value at 39 percent, followed by lack of government or bank oversight at 24 percent. Nonetheless, this means more than half of Americans do not "THINK" they are concerned about unstable value, but that could change once things take a steep dip.
What is your greatest concern regarding cryptocurrency?
Unstable value: 39%
Unprotected by government or bank oversight: 24%
Hard to trade: 10%
Lost access: 8%
Other (please specify): 5%
With fluctuating cryptocurrency prices, the benefits and the risks of crypto seem to fall into the same categories, along with a lack of centralization.
A lesser concern was lost access, which only eight percent of those familiar with crypto cited as their greatest concern. A total of nearly 80 percent reported that they were somewhat to very confident in the safety and security of their cryptocurrency.
How confident are you in the safety and security of your cryptocurrency?
Very unconfident: 3%
Somewhat unconfident: 18%
Somewhat confident: 56%
Very confident: 22%
One has to note the contradictions brought out by the survey. These contradictions could be related to a lack of understanding and experience in this space. Given that a quarter of owners have had issues accessing their cryptocurrency, lost access should be a bigger concern than it is currently. However, it is not according to the survey.
Have you ever had issues accessing your cryptocurrency?
Again, one of cryptocurrencies’ biggest benefits and concerns is the lack of centralization by a government or bank. However, in this autonomy comes the responsibility of storing crypto safely whether it be in the form of a paper, a token, or a hot (internet-connected) wallet. Every one of these options comes with pros and cons plus a lot of complexity.
What caused you to lose access to your cryptocurrency?
Lost/forgotten password: 48%
Lost/damaged device, paper, or coinage: 21%
Other (please specify): 17%
The most common reason that crypto-owners lost access was due to lost or forgotten passwords, which caused nearly half of the lost access incidents. That being said, 75 percent of owners were able to retrieve their cryptocurrency, so the value was not lost.
It is getting harder and harder to ignore Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies out there. The market cap of Bitcoin moved north of one trillion US dollars. As cryptocurrency is a relatively new concept, U.S. adults are divided on whether or not it will be used in 10 years.
How certain are you that most people will be using cryptocurrency in the next 10 years?
Very uncertain: 15%
Somewhat uncertain: 34%
Somewhat certain: 38%
Very certain: 14%
Fifty-two percent of respondents were somewhat to very certain it will be used in the next decade, while 49 percent were somewhat to very uncertain that it will be used. Despite that, the fact that 12 percent of U.S. adults, which amounts to 14.7 million Americans, say that they plan to purchase cryptocurrency in the next 12 months. If this survey is accurate, we can expect the market to continue growing for at least another year.
Aliza Vigderman is an industry analyst and senior editor at Security.org. Her research and writing has covered everything from cyberbullying to porch piracy.