Thousands of first-time cryptocurrency buyers join global movement every day - but who exactly is buying all this crypto?
With individual shares closing at over $328, this critical event marked the first time retail investors were given the ability to invest in a cryptocurrency company on the public market. One of the most significant and legitimizing events in cryptocurrency history, the results send a clear message to the established financial class - one that many crypto investors have been shouting for years: cryptocurrency is not a passing fad - it’s the future.
This news sparked a massive sell-off of Bitcoin and competing cryptocoins, leading to over $200 billion in lost value for the digital currency market. The explosive and volatile nature of cryptocurrencies has led many traditional economists and investment firms to reject crypto as a valid means of investment; however, the extreme boom-&-bust cycles that crypto is known for seems to attract just as many investors as it turns away.
The release of Bitcoin to internet users in 2009 sparked what would eventually become one of the largest forces challenging our current economic systems. The currency was initially valued at pennies per one Bitcoin; as of mid-April 2021, a single Bitcoin was valued at over $60,000.
In the decade since Bitcoin’s initial appearance, hundreds of other cryptocoin competitors have attempted to challenge BTC’s claim to the crypto throne: Ethereum, Litecoin, and Binance to name a few.
In January of 2021, the global cryptocurrency market made headlines by passing over $1 trillion in total value. The amount of virtual money flowing through these digital spaces made cryptocurrencies the world’s 5th most-circulated currency - eclipsing even that of the Indian Rupee and the Great British Pound.
The financial divide between voting Americans has been probed and examined thoroughly by other polling groups and researchers for decades; however, the recent explosion we’ve seen in cryptocurrency brings with it millions of new, blue-collar, retail investors. Despite an influx of investments into this new and exciting form of speculation, the partisan gap between cryptocurrency holders has yet to be explored in any meaningful way.
Our goal is to uncover and highlight any trends we can find between American voters - democrats, republicans, and independents - and the ways that they choose and manage their investments.
We presented our 300 Helpfull survey recipients with the following survey in order to gather valuable data about their voting preferences as well as their investment habits:
Question #1: How would you describe your political leanings?
Question #2: Please select all of the different investment types you have active financial stake in:
Question #3: Approximately what percentage of your total investment holdings do you have invested into cryptocurrencies?
Question #4: If you are currently invested in cryptocurrency, please select which of the following digital currencies you’re invested in. If you have selected other, please write in what currencies you are currently holding:
Question #5: Approximately how much money do you currently have invested into traditional investment options (excluding cryptocurrency)?
Question #6: Approximately how much money do you currently have invested into cryptocurrencies?
We wanted to see how the different voting blocs choose to invest their money. Of the eight options we provided, the top four highest-reported investment activities for each group are as follows:
On May 22nd this year, some cryptocurrency enthusiasts will be celebrating 10 years since the very first cryptocurrency transaction; where programmer Laszlo Hanyecz paid 10,000 BTC (worth over $500,000,000 now) for two Papa John’s pizzas.
Looking at American crypto investing today, what we find is far more than a passing fad. Just a decade earlier, you would be hard pressed to find anyone who had even heard about cryptocurrency - let alone invest in it. Now, cryptocurrency investing and trading has become a way of life for some. Fortunes have been created overnight, just to be lost to the ether the very next day.
When compared to traditional investment activities - buying stocks, property, or investing in a retirement plan such as a 401k or Roth IRA - cryptocurrency trading is still seen as a niche and relatively infantile. It’s an industry that is rapidly evolving and changing, taking new shape every day and drawing millions of individuals all across the United States and beyond to its movement.
As I explored and analyzed the hundreds of replies given to me by our survey respondents, I found that I could not paint a clear picture of cryptocurrency investors without noting just how diverse and unique the sample size was. I found cryptocurrency investors (and detractors) spanning both the political divide as well as the age and gender gaps.
While the future of cryptocurrency may not be as stable or as predictable as that of the NASDAQ or the S&P 500, the technology behind these virtual currencies has managed to inspire something incredibly special: a global, multicultural financial movement.
Kharpal, Arjun, and Ryan Browne. “Over $200 billion wiped off cryptocurrency market in a day as bitcoin plunges below $50,000.” CNBC, 2021, https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/23/bitcoin-btc-price-plunges-as-260-billion-wiped-off-cryptocurrencies.html. Accessed 23 4 2021.
Levy, Ari. “Coinbase closes at $328.28 per share in Nasdaq debut, valuing crypto exchange at $85.8 billion.” CNBC, 2021, https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/14/coinbase-to-debut-on-nasdaq-in-direct-listing.html. Accessed 17 4 2021.
Matthews, Chris. “Partisan battle brews over granting crypto, other companies new fintech banking charters.” MarketWatch, 2021, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/partisan-battle-brews-over-granting-crypto-other-firms-new-fintech-banking-charters-11618501033. Accessed 4 18 2021.
Subramanian, Samanth. “Crypto is now the world’s fifth-most circulated currency by value Crypto's bull run continues into 2021.” Quartz, 2021, https://qz.com/1954555/all-the-worlds-crypto-is-now-worth-more-than-1-trillion/. Accessed 20 4 2021.
Tayeb, Zahra. “Bitcoin's surge beyond $60,000 means the famed programmer Laszlo Hanyecz effectively paid $613 million for 2 pizzas.” Insider, 2021, https://www.businessinsider.com/bitcoin-surge-means-laszlo-hanyecz-paid-316-million-two-pizzas-2021-3. Accessed 22 4 2021.
Zitelmann, Rainer. “Is the Cryptocurrency Bitcoin a Huge Opportunity or Massive Bubble?” The National Interest, 2021, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/cryptocurrency-bitcoin-huge-opportunity-or-massive-bubble-181005. Accessed 20 4 2021.
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