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Home Finance Cryptocurrency: Risky investment or trusted asset?

Cryptocurrency: Risky investment or trusted asset?

Global survey reveals a stark contrast in consumer perceptions based on age and region

by Staff GBAF Publications Ltd

WHAT: A global survey by consumer insights provider Toluna that interviewed 9,000 people between the ages of 18 and 64 years from four regions and 17 countries to understand consumer perceptions around cryptocurrency.

Survey respondents came from North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), and Asia-Pacific (APAC), in the countries of Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Philippines, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, US, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, UAE, and Brazil.


  • 61% of respondents were aware of cryptocurrency, but responses show that most do not yet fully understand the asset class.
  • 45% believe that cryptocurrency is an ongoing project with no guarantee of success.
  • One in ten have no intention to invest in cryptocurrency.
  • Those who live in developing APAC countries were most familiar with cryptocurrency, and reported that they planned to set aside 22% of their investible assets for crypto. 46% of people in these countries were currently invested in crypto, followed by 39% in Latin America. The biggest investors in developed countries were in EMEA (27%).
  • Respondents currently view cryptocurrency as risky and volatile, with fear of the associated risk (43%) and an overall lack of understanding of cryptocurrency (40%) recorded as the main reasons why potential investors are hesitating to invest in cryptocurrency.
  • While a third of respondents were current owners of cryptocurrency, six in ten in that group showed a lack of familiarity with their crypto asset.

Attitudes around cryptocurrency differ dependent on age

  • The study found that older respondents were more skeptical about crypto and regard it as ‘hype,’ while younger respondents were more positive about crypto becoming a genuine currency in the long term.
  • Over half (53%) of Gen-Zs (aged 18-24) surveyed believe cryptocurrency will become an upward trend in the long term compared to 22% of Gen-Xs (aged 41-56) and 38% of boomers (aged 57-64) who think crypto is hype that will soon crash.
  • Cryptocurrency is most popular amongst younger decision-makers from developing countries. In these countries, 42% of Gen-Zs have already invested in cryptocurrency. This rises to 44% in Millennials aged 25-40.
  • Overall, Gen-Zs and Millennials are less cautious towards crypto and treat it as a form of currency. Gen-Xs are more likely to treat it as a form of investment.
  • 41% of Millennials think crypto is more of an investment than a means of payment, and a third think now is a good time to buy crypto – a contrast to just 11% of Boomers.
  • A third of Boomers (32%) think crypto facilitates illegal activities, closely followed by 27% of Gen-Xs.

Developed vs developing countries – the cryptocurrency divide

  • The global survey found that developing countries are more receptive and carry a much more positive sentiment towards cryptocurrency than richer, developed countries. This is especially true in Asia-Pacific (APAC) and Latin America. The most receptive countries to cryptocurrency were Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, and India.
  • 62% of respondents in Latin America believe cryptocurrency is a long-term upward trend, compared to 15% in North America.
  • 20% of respondents in developed APAC countries think crypto is just hype that will crash soon, compared to 49% of those in developing APAC countries who said they think it is a long-term upward trend.

Reasons for and against investing in cryptocurrency

  • 41% of people in Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand said they had invested in cryptocurrency because of its potential for short-term growth.
  • A third (33%) of those in Thailand and Malaysia said they had invested in cryptocurrency to diversify their overall investment portfolio.
  • Developed countries are more likely to view cryptocurrency as high-risk, including over half (51%) of respondents in APAC developed countries, 38% of respondents in EMEA, and 34% of those in North America.
  • Those surveyed in developing countries are much less likely to see cryptocurrency as a risky investment (25%) compared to those in developed countries (42%), and therefore place greater trust in the digital currency (32% vs. 14% of respondents in developed countries) and are much more likely to invest in cryptocurrency (41% in developing countries vs. 22% in developed countries)
  • The overall outlook for crypto investment is much stronger in developing countries, with 75% of investors expecting to increase their proportion allocated to investible assets for cryptocurrency investment vs. 57% in developed countries.

Crypto-mania in Latin America

  • Out of the developing regions, Latin America shows the strongest growth potential, along with the highest trust and lowest perceived risk of crypto.
  • Nearly half (49%) of respondents in Latin America view cryptocurrencies as more of an investment than a means of payment, with 45% believing that it can be easily converted to cash. This is in comparison to just 16% of respondents in EMEA and the developed APAC countries who think cryptocurrencies can be easily converted to money.
  • Only 16% of those in EMEA (and 18% in developed APAC countries) think cryptocurrencies can be easily converted to cash.