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(Kitco News) – The abysmal year that the cryptocurrency industry faced in 2022 has had a detrimental impact on how the wider public perceives the asset class, according to the results of a Pew Research Center survey conducted March 13-19.
Overall, 17% of U.S. adults say they have ever invested in, traded or used a cryptocurrency, a figure that has remained roughly unchanged from previous surveys conducted in 2021 and 2022.
While years of advocacy from crypto proponents have had an effect on increasing awareness, with 88% of those surveyed saying they know what cryptocurrencies are and have at least a minimal level of understanding, 75% of those respondents said that they are not confident that the current ways to invest in, trade or use cryptocurrencies are reliable and safe.
That translates to roughly two-thirds of U.S. adults holding an unfavorable opinion of the crypto industry in its current state.
Among those who have heard about cryptocurrency, 39% say they are not at all confident, while an additional 36% indicated that they are not very confident in the reliability and safety of cryptocurrencies. Only 2% said they were extremely confident, while 4% said they were very confident. 18% said they were somewhat confident.
There was a noticeable split in terms of age, with adults aged 50 and older more likely to say they are not confident in its reliability and safety (85%) as compared to their younger counterparts (66%). And women showed more skepticism when it comes to investing in, trading or using cryptocurrencies, with 80% saying they are not confident as compared to 71% of men.
Cryptocurrency holders were also more likely to express confidence in the crypto exosystem, with one-in-five crypto users responding positively to the question as opposed to the 2% of non-crypto holders who are familiar with cryptocurrency but have not invested. But even the crypto investors expressed their concerns about its safety, with 43% of this group saying that they are not very or not at all confident in it.
Younger men remain the most dominant cohort within the crypto ecosystem, with 41% of male respondents aged 18 to 29 saying that they have invested in crypto as compared to 16% of women in the same age group.
There are also noble differences between racial groups, ethnicities and income levels, with 24% of Asian adults and 21% of Black or Hispanic adults saying that they have invested in or used a cryptocurrency, compared to 14% of White adults. 22% of adults with upper incomes and 19% of those with middle incomes have invested in the asset class while only 13% of those in the lower income bracket have.
The majority (74%) of those who have used cryptocurrencies did so for the first time one to five years ago, while only 16% engaged with the industry in the past year, highlighting the effect the crypto winter had on adoption.
The down year also resulted in 31% of those who had previously engaged with cryptocurrency exiting the system completely. Lower-income households (43%) were more likely than those in middle- (30%) or upper-income (21%) households to have given up cryptocurrency, and women were more likely than men to dump their holdings (37% vs. 29%).
Roughly 20% of cryptocurrency users say the investments have hurt their personal finances at least a little, while 60% said that they have neither helped nor hurt. Only 7% say that cryptocurrency has helped their finances a lot and 3% say that it has hurt a lot.
Overall, the crypto market has underperformed the expectations of holders, with 45% of respondents reporting that their investments performed worse than expected as compared to 15% that said they have done better than expected, 32% that said they have done about the same as expected and 7% who are unsure.
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