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You don't have to actually know a lot about cryptocurrency to think it's going to be a big part of our economic futures.
At least, that's according to a new survey from Quinnipiac University, which found that while 43% of adults say they think cryptocurrencies will become a dominant economic force in the long term, only 28% say they've heard or read "a lot" about cryptocurrencies and 38% say they have heard or read "some."
When you break it down by age, young people are the most bullish on crypto: 55% of 18-to-29 year olds and 53% of 30-to 49-year olds say they think crypto will be a dominant economic force in the long run. Only 35% of those between ages 18 and 29 and 38% of those between 30 and 49 say they've heard or read a lot about cryptocurrency. The pollsters surveyed 1,936 U.S. adults in March.
The notion that cryptocurrency is going to be a strong economic force decreases with older Americans. Only 40% of 50- to 64-year-olds agree with this idea, and just 21% of people ages 65 and older do.
Why are young people so bullish on crypto?
The fact that most people under 50 haven't heard a lot about crypto but a majority of them view it as a future force in the economy signals "the marketing is working as crypto companies target sports advertising in a push to go mainstream," Osman Kilic, a professor of finance at Quinnipiac University, said in a statement accompanying the survey release.
Those companies certainly had a game plan ready for the Super Bowl this year: Crypto exchanges like Crypto.com, FTX and Coinbase arguably stole the show during the game with their commercials, which succeeded in getting crypto experts and newbies alike talking about cryptocurrencies.
Buying and selling cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, ethereum and dogecoin on platforms such as Robinhood and Coinbase is as easy as trading stocks online. Young investors are taking to social media and their friends to learn about crypto, and for many, it's become a big part of their approach to personal finance.
What does this mean for crypto investors?
Believing cryptocurrency will be a big part of our futures and actually buying some are two different things.
Just 16% of those surveyed say they actually own cryptocurrency. Why? Of those who said they don't own crypto, 46% said they weren't interested in it, and 43% said they don't understand it enough. Other reasons included that people don't think it's secure, the prices move too much, and that they simply don't know how to invest in crypto.
"Cryptocurrencies may be becoming more well known, but there's still a lot of skepticism about actually owning them, including among young people who are the most bullish on crypto's future," Kilic says. "A lack of interest and understanding is holding them back, and there are also concerns about crypto's price volatility and just how secure crypto is."
Cryptocurrency prices certainly are volatile. Bitcoin's price hit an all-time high near $68,000 per coin in November before losing half its value over the next few months. It currently sits at around $45,000. There are also concerns with the lack of regulation in the crypto market, so much so that President Joe Biden signed an executive order earlier this month to establish the first-ever federal strategy on cryptocurrencies and any future U.S. central bank digital currency.
The concerns with cryptocurrency have made financial advisors hesitant to recommend it to clients, and investing heavy hitters like Charlie Munger and Warren Buffet haven't been shy about their disdain for crypto.
Still, interest in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies just keeps growing. Will it be a "dominant economic force in the long-term"? The jury is still out, though there are clearly plenty of true believers.