Investors Are Still Just Barely Warming Up to Cryptocurrency, Survey Finds

Most people think it's way too risky. 

by James Dennin
Flickr / wuestenigel

The price of bitcoin and other crypto assets are down almost across the board on Monday after a mid-Summer rally helped drive bitcoin to its highest price since May. Bitcoin prices are currently trading at a little more than $8,100 per coin, according to CoinMaketCap, down around 1 percent over the last 24 hours.

One reason why bitcoin investors might be feeling cautious? Bitcoin may still be having trouble gaining widespread public acceptance, according to a new poll released by Wells Fargo and Gallup. That may have thrown some cold water on the notion that bitcoin was finally entering the mainstream after reports that financial giants like Goldman Sachs and BlackRock were warming to the idea of cryptocurrency investing.

Nearly three quarters of investors who’ve heard of it — 72 percent — surveyed in Gallup’s poll said they had no interest in ever buying bitcoin. 26 percent said they were intrigued by bitcoin but had no plans to buy any anytime soon, while two percent said they had invested in the cryptocurrency.

Many of these people likely have the extra cash you need to dabble in risky investments like crypto, Gallup’s poll looked at people who had invested at least $10,000 in stocks, bonds, or mutual funds last year either inside or outside a retirement account.’

Bitcoin is still too risky for most investors, according to the recent study. 

Wells Fargo/Gallup 

Are Investors Just Warming Up to Bitcoin?

The main reason that few people are investing in bitcoin, per Gallup, is the widespread perception that bitcoin is unsafe. Virtually all investors who have heard of digital currencies say that bitcoin is either very risky or somewhat risky.

That said, there is already some evidence that this might be changing. For one, Gallup noted that its poll found that younger investors were more likely to be aware of bitcoin and say they are “intrigued.” Young people obviously have less money than their older counterparts, on average, as well, suggesting that more people may warm up to the idea of crypto investing as they gain more assets.

The public narrative surrounding bitcoin has also gradually evolved into a more investor-friendly direction, particularly since the years between 2013 and 2014 when it was largely viewed as a cheap payments network or as the default illicit currency of the dark web. That’s according to a recent meta analysis of posts to the forum Bitcoin Talk by Hasufly and Nic Carter, originally posted to Medium.

Since then, bitcoin’s narrative has shifted considerably. Many investors, for example, have come to appreciate bitcoin’s value as an asset that’s largely uncorrelated with other more common investments like stocks or bonds, while others view it as a reserve currency for the crypto world as a whole. Yet other investors have come to view bitcoin as an asset which operates like gold, one which appreciates in part because its value is harder for governments to mess with.

Of course, just because the public perception bitcoin is moving in a more investor friendly direction doesn’t mean that the pendulum couldn’t just as easily swing back, or that other blockchain projects emerge as better catered the several use cases Carter and Hasufly’s analysis describes.

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