Comment on this storyCommentOver the past year, crypto companies like FTX, Coinbase, and Crypto.com have shelled out tens of millions of dollars to attract new customers. “Fortune favors the brave,” said Matt Damon in a Crypto.com TV ad as he tried to convince Americans to open their digital wallets.
Now a study has turned into how successful they were, and experts say it’s revealing. one: not successful at all. The number of people who invested in crypto has not expanded since last September before the push began, according to the study, led by the Pew Research Center. The results, released Tuesday, are based on an initial survey in September. Pew researchers then asked 10,371 Americans if they had “ever invested, traded, or used a cryptocurrency.” 16 percent of Americans said yes. Last month, the nonprofit asked another, slightly smaller sample group of 6,034 Americans the same question. And again, 16 percent said they had invested or traded in the alternative currency.
The results suggest that despite the many splashy campaigns by crypto interests, the vast majority of Americans remain immune to their sales pitches. “It’s quite surprising that for all the spectacular hype around crypto over the past year, the number of people investing or trading in crypto hasn’t budged,” said Lee Rainie, director of research of Internet and Technology at the Pew Research Center, who led the study. “Attempts to bring new buyers into the market didn’t seem to move the needle at all.” Late 2021 and early 2022 saw a flurry of recruiting efforts as crypto companies tried to lure retail investors into the fold. The long-term health of the market depends largely on new players willing to register on exchanges and buy digital currencies.
Several weeks after Damon’s commercial debuted in October, Crypto.com announced a naming rights deal for the Staples Center in Los Angeles. By February, the push was in full effect. Three trading platforms (Crypto.com, FTX, and Coinbase) each bought Super Bowl airtime, which reportedly cost $6.5 million per 30 seconds. The ads targeted a wide swath of Americans: FTX, for example, encouraged the game’s roughly 100 million viewers not to “be like Larry,” referring to the spot’s techno-skeptic star Larry David, and to invest in crypto .
The survey results validate criticism from crypto-skeptics that the coins have no inherent value and are unduly dependent on attracting new investors to enrich old ones. “That the cryptocurrency space, despite a lot of publicity, has run out of new windfalls is not all. That surprises me,” said Nicholas Weaver, a computer security expert at the University of California at Berkeley who often has made both a financial and an ethical case for new crypto investment.
“Even though a baby is born every minute, that’s still a limited group of people.” The Pew study notes that “this general lack of change comes despite the heavy attention to cryptocurrency in the news.” Pew’s findings. “I question the research,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at crypto trading and research firm Oanda. “What I’ve seen over the last year is a very diverse group of people (lawyers, nurses, doctors, teachers) showing extreme interest in crypto, especially in early 2022 when many of them first bought time.” Crypto enthusiasts say the studies may underrepresent crypto investors, because not everyone wants to tell an interviewer they’ve invested, and because the studies don’t look into the pockets of those most likely to invest.
Rainie said Pew took rigorous steps to achieve proportional representation among diverse racial, gender and economic groups. Industry leaders warn that it could be even more difficult to find new groups of investors in the coming months. In an earnings call this month, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, which ended 2021 with 11.4 million monthly active users, said it expected to end the year with between 7 and 9 million monthly active users . Moya said that even if retail investors fall. following the recent fall, crypto markets could be fueled by institutional investors, who are more likely to buy after a crash. The Pew study also looked at demographics and found that not much had changed over the past year. neither As of September, adults over 50 were only a quarter more likely to invest in cryptocurrency than adults under 30, while men were 2.5 times more likely than women to invest money in cryptocurrency The study also found that all marketing campaigns did. I won’t do much to raise general crypto awareness. Last September, the percentage of those who said they had heard “nothing at all” about cryptocurrency was 14 percent. This summer, after all the media attention, the ranks of crypto-ignorants had shrunk by just one percentage point, to 13 percent.