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Finder Cryptocurrency Adoption Index

The definitive ranking of the most popular cryptocurrencies across 27 countries.

Finder’s Cryptocurrency Adoption Index measures the growth of cryptocurrencies worldwide through an ongoing survey of Internet users in 27 countries.

  • Bitcoin is South Africa’s most popular cryptocurrency, with 56% of crypto owners owning the coin.
  • South Africa sees its highest global adoption ranking for Bitcoin (56%), coming in at 2nd out of 27 countries.
  • Men in South Africa are roughly 1.6 times as likely as women to own cryptocurrency – among crypto owners, 62% are men compared to 38% who are women.

Cryptocurrency adoption statistics in South Africa

Finder surveyed 2,003 Internet users in South Africa in December 2021 and found it ranks 21st out of 27 countries studied. The crypto ownership rate in South Africa is 11.3%, ahead of the United States (10.5%) and Sweden (9.8%). However, this rate is lower than the global average of 15.5%.

Globally, crypto ownership jumped from 11.2% in October 2021 to 15.5% in December 2021. This places South Africa among countries with one of the lowest growth rates in crypto ownership between the two surveys, with ownership rising by 1 percentage point from 10.3% to 11.3%. The global growth average was 4.3 percentage points.

Of the people in South Africa who said they own some form of cryptocurrency, 56% of crypto owners own Bitcoin, making it the most popular cryptocurrency.

The second most popular coin is Ethereum at 31.5%, with Ripple in third place at 25.8%.

Bitcoin adoption in South Africa

Bitcoin is probably the best-known name in the world of cryptocurrency, which is probably why an average of 39.1% of crypto owners globally said they had BTC in their wallets. As for South Africa, BTC ownership came in above the global average, with 56% of crypto owners saying they held BTC.

This places South Africa as the 2nd out of 27 countries. Out of the five coins we asked about in our survey (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Solana and Ripple), Bitcoin ranks as 1st choice for crypto owners in South Africa.

Between now and the last survey, the number of crypto owners surveyed who said they held BTC has fallen from the 73.5% of respondents who said they own Bitcoin in October to 56% in December.

Ethereum’s popularity with crypto owners in South Africa

ETH ranks as South Africa’s 2nd choice for crypto with 31.5% of crypto owners holding Ethereum, which is above the global average of 24.4%. This places South Africa 8th for ETH ownership.

DOGE ownership in South Africa

South Africa sits 20th for DOGE ownership globally, with 15.6% saying they own the memecoin, which is below the global average of 18.5%. As far as its popularity among crypto owners in South Africa, DOGE ranks 4th.

Solana adoption in South Africa

During the December survey, we decided to also ask if respondents in South Africa owned Solana. Solana ranks as the 5th most popular coin, with 12.3% of crypto owners saying they hold the coin, which is below the global average of 15.5%.

Popularity of Ripple in South Africa

Beating out some of the more well-known cryptos, Ripple comes in as South Africa’s 3rd most popular coin, with 25.8% of crypto owners saying they hold Ripple. The global average for Ripple ownership sits at 16.8%, placing South Africa above the global average.

Men in South Africa most likely to own crypto

In South Africa men are more likely to own cryptocurrency: Roughly 14.1% of men in South Africa say they hold crypto compared to 8.5% of women. This aligns with global trends. Our December research found more men said they owned crypto than women in 24 out of 27 countries surveyed.

Of those in South Africa who own crypto, 62% are men and 38% are women – meaning that men are roughly 1.6 times as likely to own crypto than women. South Africa actually has the 8th-highest male-dominated crypto market of the countries surveyed. Globally, men are on average 1.5 times more likely to hold crypto than women.

South Africa sees young people dominate crypto ownership

Globally, crypto ownership is dominated by the young, with an average 56.1% of owners aged 18 to 34. And South Africa is no different.

In South Africa, those aged 18-34 dominate crypto ownership at 48.7%, while at 32%, 35-54 year olds are the next most likely group to say they own crypto. Those aged 55+ come in last with 19.3%.

Crypto sentiment in South Africa

In November 2021, Finder asked Internet users in 23 countries whether they’d heard of cryptocurrencies and thought crypto was a good investment. The survey found South Africa ranks 10th out of 23 countries in regard to positivity around cryptocurrency, with 47% of respondents saying they think cryptocurrency is a good investment. This is higher than the global average of 43% (see the global comparison here).

South Africa ranks in the top half when it comes to general awareness of cryptocurrency as a means of investment, with 66% of Internet users in South Africa saying they’ve heard of cryptocurrency. This places South Africa at 8th among 23 countries in terms of crypto awareness.

Cryptocurrency adoption statistics by country

Key global cryptocurrency trends for October 2021

  • The number of Internet users globally who say they own crypto jumped from 11.2% in October to 15.5% in December.
  • Vietnam (28.6%), India (23.4%) and Australia (22.9%) have the highest rates of cryptocurrency ownership among Internet users.
  • In back-to-back surveys, Japan ranked at the bottom of the list for adoption, with only 5.8% of adults saying they own any cryptocurrency in December (4.6% in October).
  • Of those who own cryptocurrency, Bitcoin is the most dominant in Australia (72.7%), South Africa (56%) and Hong Kong (55.1%).
  • Globally, men are 2.8 times more likely than women to own cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency has gone from a fairly obscure financial product to a daily news item in recent years, which may be why 15.5% of Internet users who took our survey said they own cryptocurrency.

Vietnam has the highest rate of cryptocurrency ownership in the world, with 28.6% of its online population saying they own a form of cryptocurrency, followed by India (23.4%) and Australia (22.9%). At the other end of the spectrum is Japan, where only 5.8% of the online population surveyed say they own any cryptocurrency.

Because Finder didn’t conduct its survey in Vietnam in October, there is no way to know how ownership has changed since. However, at the time of the previous survey, Nigeria led the way, with 23.57% of Internet users saying they owned cryptocurrency, followed by Malaysia (17.8%) and Australia (16.7%).

While it didn’t make the top 3 countries in terms of crypto ownership, Norway saw the highest growth in the number of Internet users reporting they own crypto, roughly tripling from 4.4% in October to 13.4% in December.

Bitcoin adoption statistics

While the percentage of Internet users around the globe who report they own crypto increased across the board between October and December, the big names in crypto saw their dominance dip and Bitcoin was no exception. Only one country saw an increase in its percentage of Bitcoin ownership – coincidently it was the country with the highest proportion of crypto owners holding Bitcoin: Australia (72.7%).

Australia saw its percentage of crypto owners with Bitcoin go up from 69.1% to 72.7%. This is almost double (1.9 times) the global average adoption rate of 39.1%.

Jumping from third to first place, Australia replaces Japan in the top spot, which during the previous survey was purportedly home to 77.1% of crypto owners who said they own Bitcoin.

Adoption statistics for other coins

Singapore tops the list for Ethereum users

Ethereum continues to see its strongest adoption among crypto owners in Singapore, where 43.5% of crypto owners surveyed said they own ETH – about double (1.8 times) the global ETH adoption rate of 24.4%.

While Singapore continues to top the list for ETH adoption, 52.4% of crypto owners surveyed in October said they owned ETH, aligning with global trends that show ETH in decline among crypto owners. Following the October survey, the global average adoption rate for Ethereum sat at 28.2% compared to December’s global ETH adoption rate of 24.4%.

US home to highest Dogecoin adoption rate

Dogecoin has the highest rate of adoption among those who own crypto in the US, where 31.6% of crypto owners say they own Dogecoin. This is 1.7 times the global average adoption rate of 18.5%.

This is a continuing trend for the US, which topped the list for Dogecoin ownership in our October survey, where a similar percentage (31.5%) of crypto owners said they held Doge.

Indonesia has top ownership for Solana

Solana is at peak adoption in Indonesia, with 24.9% of the online population who own crypto in the country saying they have Sol – which is 1.6 times the global average adoption rate of 15.5%

Finder did not ask about Sol in our October survey, so we aren’t able to compare ownership by quarter.

Japan tops list of Ripple owners

Japan is home to the highest number of people who own Ripple, with 31.5% of respondents who own crypto saying they own the coin. This is 1.9 times the global average adoption rate of 16.8%.

Finder did not ask about Ripple in our October survey, so we aren’t able to compare ownership by quarter.

Cryptocurrency investor demographics by country

There is a wide gap in adoption of crypto between men and women. Globally, men are on average 1.5 times more likely than women to own cryptocurrency. Of those who own crypto, an average of 41% are women and 59% are men.

During the December survey, only four countries (Malaysia, Norway, Russia and Venezuela) had higher crypto ownership among women than men.

The gender split of crypto owners in October was 38% for women and 62% for men, yet by December, those numbers looked slightly better at 41% for women and 59% men. Men went from being about 1.6 times more likely than women to own crypto in October to 1.5 times in December.

Younger people far more likely to be in on crypto

Crypto ownership rates are heavily skewed toward the young, with more than half (54.8%) of crypto owners aged 18 to 34. Ownership among other age groups is 30.5% for those aged 35 to 54 and just 14.7% for those aged 55 or older.

Nowhere is this age imbalance more pronounced than in Nigeria, where 71.3% of crypto owners are aged 18 to 34, 14.8% are aged 35 to 54 and only 13.9% are aged 55 and older.

The US is home to the largest cohort of crypto owners between the ages of 35 and 54 at 50.3%, while the Philippines has the largest percentage of crypto investors over the age of 55 at 24.2%.

Attitudes towards cryptocurrency around the world

Key global cryptocurrency sentiment trends for November 2021

  • Nearly two-thirds (64%) of those surveyed are aware of cryptocurrencies.
  • Australia, Nigeria and Norway have the highest awareness rates among Internet users, with Mexico ranking last.
  • Nigeria tops the list for positivity towards cryptocurrency investment, followed by the Philippines and Indonesia.
  • The UK has the lowest number of respondents who think cryptocurrency is a good investment.

In November 2021, Finder asked Internet users in 23 countries whether they’d heard of cryptocurrencies and if they thought crypto was a good investment. Roughly two-thirds (64%) of Internet users surveyed said they are aware of cryptocurrencies.
Yet a high awareness of cryptocurrency in a given country doesn’t necessarily translate to a high proportion of the public wanting to invest their capital in crypto. Less than half (43%) of those surveyed thought crypto was a sensible investment.
Positive sentiment toward cryptocurrency investment is highest in Nigeria, where 81% say they think investing in cryptocurrency is a good idea. Nigeria is followed by the Philippines (71%), Indonesia (68%), India (64%) and Malaysia (61%).
At the opposite end of the spectrum is the UK, where a paltry 17% say they think investing in crypto is a wise move. Sweden, Japan, Norway and Germany all responded with a crypto-positivity rating of 25% or under.

People in Mexico are least likely to be aware of crypto as an investment strategy, with half (50%) of those surveyed saying they don’t know what cryptocurrency is. The UK also ranks fairly low for awareness, with 55% saying they are aware of crypto, followed by Brazil (57%).

Cryptocurrency and corruption

  • 9 out of the 10 most crypto-positive countries have a below-average Corruption Perceptions Index score.
  • Nigeria – the most crypto-positive country – has the worst Corruption Perceptions Index score at 25.
  • Malaysia is the only country in the top 10 with an above-average Corruption Perceptions Index score.

Interestingly, when positivity is compared to each country’s Corruption Perception Index score – a measure of economic transparency, where a low score indicates a high rate of perceived corruption in the economy – there is a strong correlation between high positivity and high corruption. 9 of the top 10 most positive countries had a Corruption Perceptions Index score below the global average of 45. Malaysia is the only country that ranks in the top 10 for positivity but doesn’t rank highly in the Corruption Perceptions Index.
This indicates that cryptocurrency is more appealing in regions of low trust in the established financial system. Citizens of these countries likely see cryptocurrencies and wallets as a more reliable method of wealth storage than traditional banks.

Crypto usurping the role of traditional remittance?

Among the many use cases brought up by those bullish on the value of crypto is its application as a way of transferring funds abroad. And there might be something to it.

The 6 countries of Nigeria, the Philippines, India, Vietnam, Colombia and Mexico have more than 1% of their GDP made up by remittances. Additionally, all 6 of these countries rank in the top 10 for countries we looked at in terms of perceived levels of public corruption.

These countries deal with high levels of perceived corruption, so it’s little wonder that positivity toward the use of crypto is high in each, with Nigeria ranking 1st, the Philippines at 2nd, India at 4th, Vietnam at 6th and Colombia at 8th in terms of positivity.

Methodology

We regularly survey individuals across 27 countries to analyse cryptocurrency adoption rates, investment diversification and the demographics of investors, which has so far garnered 93,528 responses. The survey is designed by Finder and conducted by Google in all territories except Australia, where the survey is conducted by Qualtrics/SAP. Participants are internet, smartphone, Google AdMob users or Qualtrics research panel participants. Sample sizes range from 1,000 to 2,500 people and are directly proportional to population size. Participating countries were selected based on global Finder website traffic and availability on research platforms. Surveys are conducted monthly, with results published quarterly in the United States, Australia, the UK, Mexico, Germany and Canada. Research occurs quarterly in all other countries. Results are weighted using Google’s interactive ranking process to reflect national population distribution in each country.

In November 2021, Finder asked Internet users in 23 countries whether they’d heard of cryptocurrencies and if they thought crypto was a good investment, which we used as the basis for our awareness index. Specifically, we asked:
“Do you think cryptocurrency is a good investment?

  • Yes
  • No
  • I don’t know what cryptocurrency is

The awareness figures were based on the number of respondents who said they didn’t know what crypto was, whereas positivity was based upon whether they thought crypto was a good investment.

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