Erik Weijers, a year ago

Grayscale research: Bitcoin becomes mainstream

In their third annual survey of Bitcoin investors, Grayscale notes that Bitcoin has become more mainstream over the past year. It is seen as a store of value by more and more investors, and larger and larger groups view Bitcoin in a positive light. Less than before, it is primarily the domain of young, male investors.

Grayscale's survey was done in August 2021 among a thousand individuals from the United States. To be a respondent, a person had to invest at least $10,000 of his or her assets. An interesting result is that 26% of this group invested in Bitcoin. That's 2% more than a year earlier.

Perception improved

44% of those surveyed view Bitcoin more positively than a year ago. Only 10% are more negative. An important difference in perception is that Bitcoin is now seen more as an investment than as a payment network. 77% see it as an investment and that is a threefold increase from a year earlier. Of this group that sees it as an investment, the majority view it as a multi-year investment. A relatively small proportion sees it as an investment for less than a year (37%).

More elderly and women

A remarkable result is that Bitcoin is less and less the domain of younger men. These are is known to be risk seekers. It turns out that the greatest growth of people strongly considering a Bitcoin as an investment product occurs among older people and women. In the 55 to 64 age cohort, nearly half are considering adding a Bitcoin to their portfolio. That's a big increase from the 30% of 2020.

Dutch survey on crypto ownership

In the same month, a survey was done in the Netherlands, commissioned by the Dutch watchdog of the financial markets (AFM). An initial finding is that 12% of Dutch people over eighteen invest in crypto. That is considerably less than the 26% of the Grayscale study but remember that the research populations are different. In the U.S. study only investors with ten thousand dollars in invested capital participated, while in the Netherlands people with small means were also questioned. In fact, only 15% of the Dutch respondents have invested more than 5,000 euros in crypto.

The emphasis of the questions (and thus the findings) is different in the Dutch study. For example, there is a question about whether individuals would be in financial trouble after a collapse of the crypto markets. One in eight answers yes to this question. This type of question is no surprise: the Dutch survey was requested by a traditional financial institution. One of the possible motivations for investing in crypto is: "to have a gamble". 54% of the participants give this as a reason. This is in stark contrast to Grayscale's findings, where a sizable portion of those surveyed see Bitcoin as a multi-year investment. Again, this likely has to do with the difference in the populations surveyed. A population of investors (Grayscale survey) is no doubt more interested in the long term than a mixed group of the population. And someone who has a ton in crypto probably doesn't see it as taking a gamble.

A similarity between the two studies

We see a similarity in the findings of the two surveys in one of the important reasons that the Dutch also give for owning Bitcoin and other crypto assets: 'little interest on savings account'. This corresponds to the picture from the US survey, namely that investors see Bitcoin as a financial instrument that protects against inflation for the long term. Traditionally, a savings account and bonds have fulfilled this function.

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