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Why haven’t more Canadians bought cryptocurrency?

The cryptocurrency market is known for its volatility: one minute it could be up, and the next minute it could be down. Bitcoin’s price exploded in the last quarter of 2017. After starting 2017 off at a modest US$953.56 (CA$1,234), bitcoin reached an all-time high of US$20,089 (CA$25,993) on December 17th, according to CoinMarketCap. Since then, the digital currency has remained in fluctuation over the course of 2018.

Finder Canada recently commissioned a study of 2,000 Canadian adults to research what people really think of cryptocurrency. The study found that an estimated 4.8 million Canadians have purchased cryptocurrency – that’s 16.55% of the Canadian adult population. The report also found some interesting insights into the types of people who own cryptocurrency, as well as the reasons why people haven’t touched it.

What types of people have bought cryptocurrency?

Interestingly, men are more likely than women to have purchased cryptocurrency, with 19.45% of men having purchased compared to 14.10% of women.

It appears millennials are the “crypto generation”, with 31.68% of people in this age group having purchased cryptocurrency, compared to 19.27% of Gen X’ers and just 6.47% of baby boomers.

But where do crypto holders live? The study found that people who have purchased cryptocurrency are most likely to live in Central Canada (17.67%). This is followed by the Atlantic Region (16.80%), the Prairie Provinces (13.78%), and the West Coast (11.11%). The sample size from the North was too small to draw conclusive results.

Why aren’t people buying cryptocurrency?

The main reason people haven’t bought cryptocurrency is because they simply aren’t interested, with 34.75% of Canadians admitting this was the reason they hadn’t touched crypto. This is followed by those who say it’s too high risk (33.85%), and those who think it’s too complicated to understand (27.44%).

Other reasons for not having purchased include: people thinking it’s too difficult to use (14.38%), it’s a scam (9.65%), or there are too many fees (3.95%).

Let’s break it down


Interestingly, the majority of men said they hadn’t bought cryptocurrency because it was too high risk, with 42.06% of men citing this reason. Women didn’t weigh this rationale as highly, with only 27.36% of women giving the same reason.

The majority of women said they hadn’t bought cryptocurrency because they didn’t know what it is – which could speak to a broader gender gap in the tech and digital space. Only 18.45% of men gave this rationale, which isn’t surprising considering cryptocurrency – like most digital industries – is a male dominated industry. Other reasons women cited were a lack of interest (33.37%), thinking it’s too complicated to understand (27.90%), or that they didn’t have enough money (16.42%).

Only a small portion of both genders said fees were the main reason they hadn’t bought cryptocurrency, with 2.9% of women and 5.29% of men citing this reason.


All three generations that were analysed cited the same top three reasons for not purchasing, namely: finding it too complicated to understand, not knowing what it is, and thinking it’s too high risk. However, the reasons varied in significance across the board.

Surprisingly, for a generation that grew up with technology, the study found that the main reason millennials haven’t purchased cryptocurrency is because it’s too complicated to understand, with 31.49% of millennials choosing this as their reason for not purchasing. This was followed by those who don’t know what it is and those think it’s too high risk, with 30.80% of millennials citing each of these reasons as their reason for not having purchased.

People from the Gen X generation believe cryptocurrency is too high risk, with 34.39% of Gen Xers citing this is as the main reason they haven’t yet purchased. This is followed by those who don’t know what it is (27.88%) and those who simply aren’t interested (27.88%).

Baby boomers said their main reason for not having purchased was because they weren’t interested (42.51%), followed by thinking it’s too high risk (34.57%) and thinking it’s too complicated to understand (26.25%).

Canada versus US

A similar study was conducted in the United States in February 2018, which found that only 7.95% of Americans had purchased cryptocurrency – that’s 8.6% less than the proportion of Canadians who own cryptocurrency, at 16.55%.

In the US study, men were more than twice as likely to own cryptocurrency, with 11.86% of American men owning cryptocurrency compared to just 4.27% of American women. While there was also a gender disparity in the Canadian market, the difference was not as stark as the US, with 19.45% of Canadian men having purchased compared to 14.10% of Canadian women – a difference of just 5.30%.

In terms of generation, the US study demonstrated a similar spread of crypto owners, with millennials the most likely to own cryptocurrency, representing 11.52% of all crypto owners. This was followed by Gen Xer’s at 10.30% and baby boomers at 3.81%.

Understanding cryptocurrency

Thinking about purchasing cryptocurrency, but just haven’t made the plunge? You’re not alone – 83.45% of Canadian adults have not purchased cryptocurrency.

If you’re interested in cryptocurrency but find that it’s too complicated to understand, read our guide to cryptocurrency containing key terms, providers and players in the crypto world.


This data is from a survey of 2,000 Canadian adults commissioned by and conducted by OnePoll in June 2018. Due to not having enough respondents, the North region (Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Yukon Territory) was not included.

Written by

Michelle Hutchison

Michelle Hutchison is chief operating officer at Schebesta Ventures. She's an award-winning public relations pro and advisory board member, and has held multiple roles in Finder including global head of communication and compliance officer for Finder Ventures, and global head of communication for Finder. Michelle started at Finder in 2013 as the Australian head of PR and money expert. With more than a decade of experience in public relations, Michelle was formerly a journalist and editor, and has written for numerous publications including The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald, Mamamia and New Idea. See full profile

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