People who invest in cryptocurrency are a lot more likely than the general public to think they're capable of becoming billionaires, according to a new poll.
More than 70% of Americans who invest in cryptocurrency said they believe they have the tools to become billionaires, compared to 44% of respondents overall in a recent survey from the Harris Poll, a global market research firm.
The poll surveyed 1,989 American adults online in July. Crypto investors weren't the only group with a particularly high level of confidence that they have what it takes to be like Bezos. Younger generations — who happen to invest in crypto more than older groups — as well as men and those who identify as LGBTQ were all much more likely to say they have the tools at their disposal to reach billionaire status one day. Some 55% of millennials and 66% of Gen Z respondents said so in the survey.
Why people invest in crypto — especially millennials and Gen Z
According to a 2022 count by Forbes, there are around 735 billionaires in the United States. But clearly, there are many more people who think becoming a billionaire is a real possibility — especially if they're young or involved in crypto investing (or both).
Though some are drawn to crypto because they believe it is the future of finance or they love the concept of decentralized banking, another recent survey showed the main obvious reason driving crypto investors: They simply want to make money.
And yes, younger investors are more likely to literally be buying in to the idea: As of August, 20% of Gen Z adults and 23% of millennials say they own bitcoin, compared to just 13% of U.S. adults overall, according to a Morning Consult poll. In yet another survey, 56% of Gen Z adults and 54% of millennials said they are including cryptocurrency in their retirement plans.
FOMO, or the fear of missing out, seems to drive a lot of investors to put money in crypto, as does the urge to take chances with the hopes of getting rich quick. One study found evidence that bitcoin investors had higher novelty seeking and higher gambling tendencies.
America's love-hate relationship with billionaires
Six in 10 U.S. adults responding to the Harris Poll said they aspire to become billionaires one day. The same percentage say that billionaires are good for society, innovation and the economy.
But those positive perceptions seem to be shifting among younger, more diverse crowds, with 46% saying they believe extreme wealth accumulation makes it more difficult for most people to achieve the American dream.
"The self-made journey of wealth accumulation has always been foundational to the American dream, once with millionaires and now billionaires," Libby Rodney, futurist and chief strategy officer at The Harris Poll Thought Leadership Practice, said in a news release.
"Many Americans still want to become billionaires," Rodney said, "but from a collective sensibility, the story is shifting as billionaires are being painted as a barrier to Americans achieving their personal dreams, while economic inequality grows to a national crisis point."
About 70% of survey respondents said billionaires have a responsibility to improve society, but aren’t doing enough, and two-thirds said the ultra-wealthy should be taxed more heavily.
"As our society continues to grow in two different directions, with the middle class disappearing, Americans are having a reckoning with wealth accumulation," Rodney said.
Other key findings from the survey:
- 65% of Americans think that billionaires don't pay their fair share of taxes.
- 58% think that billionaires' activities contribute to the rise in inflation.
- 58% resent billionaires' wealth accumulation during the pandemic.
- 42% think billionaires should not be allowed to purchase businesses in the media industry (e.g., newspapers, news websites) or social media (e.g., Twitter).
- 28% say billionaires shouldn't be able to post on social media at all.
- 47% say there is a point where wealth should be capped.