Having grown up in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, is it any wonder that Millennials and Generation Z like the sound of Bitcoin over the traditional banking system?
A survey released today conducted by U.K.-based research firm One Poll, and commissioned by peer-to-peer Bitcoin marketplace Paxful, suggests young people in the United States have a growing interest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The trouble is a sizable portion of them still don’t trust crypto—and some even struggle to understand it, according to the report.
The survey polled approximately 500 young people between the ages of 18 and 42 earlier this year and found that nearly half of the Millennial and Gen Z respondents—43 percent—think crypto could replace the U.S. financial system today. And another 26 percent believe it will get there one day soon. (A whopping 98.4 percent associate cryptocurrency with Bitcoin, according to the survey, while 77.4 percent said they’ve heard of Ethereum.)
On the other hand, the survey also demonstrated that more than a third—37.14 percent—of young people don’t yet trust cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, citing things like regulation and volatility as concerns. Of those polled, 14 percent of Millennial and Gen Z respondents cited a “lack of understanding” as their main reason for not getting involved with crypto.
In an interview with Decrypt, Paxful CEO Ray Youssef said he believes that many young people are not necessarily looking for the same sort of lending or investment services like their parents. Rather, they’re attracted simply to easier ways of receiving, sending and storing funds. Crypto, he said, can offer these services better than standard financial institutions, though he believes cryptocurrencies are still difficult to utilize—and, therefore, difficult to understand.
“Many people are not gamblers. They just want to make money and make their lives easier,” he said. “Crypto can make lives easier, but nobody is doing enough to educate themselves. There is too much focus on speculation,” said Youssef. “I’m sure many of these young people have only heard of crypto from pump-and-dumps.”
It’s worth noting that more than half of Millennial and Gen Z respondents said they are more interested in the peer-to-peer trading capabilities of crypto, rather than just buying from an exchange and holding. Of those polled, roughly 44 percent cited “peer-to-peer transactions” as their primary interest in digital currency. What’s more, 67 percent said they also associate crypto with globalization.
Youssef said he isn’t surprised by this. “When we did the campus tour in Africa, we saw young African students’ eyes light up when we told them about a potential new revenue stream,” he explained. “Peer-to-peer trading offers a wealth-generating opportunity, and when they understand peer-to-peer trading, younger people will understand the arbitrage opportunities. This is a new world for them.”
The survey also demonstrated that nearly 21 percent of the respondents in the U.S. were unbanked, an unusually high number for a developed country, according to Youssef. However, more than half of those polled said they’ve purchased crypto within the last six months, suggesting crypto adoption could be on the rise among America’s youth.