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A rising number of Americans own crypto
But adoption is far from widespread.
It’s been an exciting year for cryptocurrency with the rise and fall of Bitcoin and skyrocketing fame of memecoins Dogecoin and Shiba. But that hasn’t stopped Americans from investing. In the last year, the number of Americans who own a cryptocurrency has jumped from 7.95% in 2018 and 14.4% in 2019 to 23.16% in 2021, an increase of 61% in two years, according to a survey of 2,059 participants commissioned by Finder. That means roughly 59.1 million Americans own some form of crypto.
How invested are Americans in crypto?
Of those holding a type of cryptocurrency in their digital wallets, the average total in crypto is $1,003. However, roughly three-quarters of respondents actually held less than this amount, which is probably why the median amount of cryptocurrency in our respondent’s wallets was a more modest $191.
Americans with crypto have an average $1,003 in crypto. But the median amount of crypto in American digital wallets is just $191.
Bitcoin continues its reign as the most popular cryptocurrency
Whenever they hear crypto, most people think of Bitcoin (BTC), the best-known coin. And it’s true that it is by far the most popular cryptocurrency with 66.7% of crypto investors owning Bitcoin. However, other crypto currencies are catching up with 28.6% of crypto investors holding the popular “memecoin” Dogecoin and 23.9% of investors holding Ethereum.
|Type of cryptocurrency||% of crypto investors|
Men more likely to invest in crypto than women
Men own cryptocurrency at more than twice the rate of women, with 32% of men surveyed saying they own a type of cryptocurrency versus just 15% of women. This equals about 39.1 million men and 19.9 million women.
Millennials own the most crypto
Younger generations lead the pack in investing in crypto. Of all cryptocurrency investors, 44.3% of them are millennials, followed by 28.6% of Gen X, and 17.8% of gen Z. Baby boomers accounted for only 8.2% of all cryptocurrency investors.
Looking at the total sum invested in crypto in dollars, the difference is even more stark. 86.0% of all crypto investments are held by millennials and Gen X.
|Generation||% of all crypto investors|
Why do we own crypto?
Using the coin as a form of investment is the most common reason the vast majority of people choose to invest in crypto. So much so, it’s the reason cited by 68% of our respondents who say they own a cryptocurrency. That’s an estimated 40.0 million Americans.
Using crypto as a form of payment is the second most common reason for using crypto at 26.2% (roughly 15.5 million Americans), followed by using crypto as an alternative to government-controlled currency at 23.7% (about 14.0 million Americans).
Using crypto to store their savings outside of traditional banks is also a popular reason for owning crypto, with 19.7% of those surveyed saying it’s the reason they own coins, totaling some 11.6 million Americans. Another popular reason was to hedge against potential price crashes in traditional assets, with 17.10% of those surveyed saying it was a reason they invested in crypto (about 10.1 million Americans)
Confused by crypto?
If you haven’t jumped on the cryptocurrency bandwagon, it’s OK you’re not alone. Only an estimated 58.7% of Americans choose to put their money into a digital wallet.
However, if you’re one of the 196.1 million Americans who don’t own crypto and say that the reason you’re not buying into cryptocurrency is because it’s too complicated or difficult to understand, Finder may be able to help with our guide to cryptocurrency which contains key terms, providers and players in the crypto world.
Finder’s data is based on an online survey of 2,059 US adults born between 1928 and 2003 commissioned by Finder and conducted by Pureprofile in April 2021. Participants were paid volunteers.
We assume the participants in our survey represent the US population of 254.7 million Americans who are at least 18 years old according to the July 2019 US Census Bureau estimate. This assumption is made at the 95% confidence level with a 2.16% margin of error.
The survey asked respondents whether they owned cryptocurrency and, if so, which cryptocurrencies they owned with the possible selections of: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Binance Coin, Polkadot, Tether, Cardano, XRP, Uniswap, Litecoin, Chainlink, Ripple, Dogecoin, and Other. We also asked participants how much they held in each cryptocurrency. We also asked participants the reasons they held cryptocurrency.
We define generations by birth year according to the Pew Research Center’s generational guidelines:
- Gen Z — 1997–2003
- Millennials — 1981–1996
- Gen X — 1965–1980
- Baby boomers — 1946–1964
- Silent generation — 1928–1945
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