A look at the demographics of crypto investors
Who owns and trades bitcoin? Young, relatively well-off men living in big cities.
Most people know what bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are and feel comfortable explaining them to others. But the true bitcoin fans are Millennial men earning more than $75,000 a year in urban areas, according to a recent survey of more than 1,000 Americans.
The survey was conducted by Clovr, a company focused on promoting the mainstream adoption of blockchain technologies — the digital ledgers that record bitcoin transactions. It is one of the first comprehensive studies of who owns cryptocurrencies.
It may not be a huge surprise to learn that the biggest bitcoin evangelists are young men.
But the results will still be a blow to true cryptocurrency evangelists. That’s because, in addition to the limited reach it found, the survey’s results also show that the primary reason people invest in cryptocurrencies is the possibility of a huge return — not because they necessary think digital currencies are the future of money. In other words, people view bitcoin much like internet stocks in the late 1990s or marijuana stocks today: a highly speculative investment.
The bitcoin boom is also about latching on to a hot fad — investors know others who are doing it and they also have a fear of missing out.
That tends to be a recipe for disaster. Individual investors often chase momentum and get in too late. They’re still buying when the so-called smart money (big mutual funds and hedge funds) are selling.
And even though bitcoin prices have come crashing down this year, that doesn’t mean that the worst is necessarily over. After all, the price of one bitcoin, trading at about $6,400, is up a staggering 3,000% in the past five years. There is arguably still a lot of room to fall.
Mike Cribari, a co-founder of Clovr, said he was a bit surprised that eagerness to make a fast buck was the top reason for buying bitcoin.
“A lot of people involved in speculative investments — going for long shots — don’t fall into high income brackets,” Cribari said, referring to numerous studies about how casinos, lotteries and other forms of gambling are often considered taxes on the poor.
By Paul R. La Monica