Sam Bankman-Fried, founder and chief executive of crypto trading platform FTX. Despite a blitz of media attention and marketing spots, the number of people who’ve invested in crypto during the last year hasn’t grown. (Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg News)
Within the last year, crypto companies like FTX, Coinbase and Crypto.com have shelled out tens of an incredible number of dollars to attract new customers. “Fortune favors the brave,” Matt Damon famously said in a Crypto.com TV spot as he tried to induce Americans to open their digital wallets.
Now a core metric of how successful they were has been returned, and experts say it’s an eye-opening one: not successful at all. The number of people who invested in crypto hasn’t expanded since last September ahead of the push began, according to a brand new study led by Pew Research Center.
The outcomes, released Tuesday, build off a preliminary survey in September. In the past, Pew researchers asked 10,371 Americans if they have “ever invested in, traded, or used a cryptocurrency.” Some 16 percent said they had.
Last month, the nonprofit asked another sample group — slightly smaller, at 6,034 Americans — the same question. The amount hadn’t grown, with the same 16 percent saying they had at some point invested or traded in the alternate currency.
The outcomes claim that, despite numerous splashy campaigns by crypto interests, the fantastic majority of Americans remain immune to their sales pitches.
“It’s pretty striking that for all your spectacular commotion around crypto in the last year, the number of people who invest or trade in crypto didn’t budge,” said Lee Rainie, Crypto marketing Pew Research Center’s director of internet and technology research, who spearheaded the study. “Attempts to create in new buyers to the market didn’t seem to move the needle at all.”
The end of 2021 and beginning of 2022 saw a flurry of recruitment efforts as crypto firms attemptedto draw retail investors in to the fold — the market’s long-term health in large part utilizes new players prepared to subscribe for exchanges and buy digital coins.
Many weeks after Damon’s commercial debuted in October, Crypto.com announced a naming-rights deal for Los Angeles’s Staples Center. By February the push was completely effect. Three trading platforms — Crypto.com, FTX and Coinbase — each bought Super Bowl airtime that has been reportedly going for $6.5 million per 30 seconds.
“That the cryptocurrency space, despite a ton of advertising, has come to an end of new suckers is not absolutely all that surprising in my experience,” said Nicholas Weaver, a computer-security expert from the University of California at Berkeley who has often raised both an economic and ethical case against crypto investment. “Although there’s a fool born every minute, that’s still a small pool of suckers.”
“Although it is just a bit surprising that individual adoption in the US will be flat, I will say that’s not the trend we are seeing in other markets,” Kim Grauer, director of research for Chainalysis, the crypto and blockchain data company, said within an email. “In our recent research, we’re continuing to see increased grassroots adoption globally, and especially in emerging markets.”
Grauer added that in the United States, “that includes a more aged crypto economy and where adoption has stabilized, I expect you’ll see a brand new wave of new entrants into the room as financial institutions commence to roll out the crypto products they’ve announced.”
And not absolutely all analysts were embracing the underlying truth of Pew’s findings. “I question the investigation,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at crypto trading and research company Oanda. “What I’ve seen during the last year is just a very diverse number of people — lawyers, nurses, doctors, professors — showing extreme fascination with crypto, especially in the beginning of 2022, when most of them bought set for the very first time.”
Crypto enthusiasts say studies can underrepresent crypto investors, because not everybody wants to inform a questioner they have invested and because studies don’t look for pockets of the most prone to invest. Rainie said Pew took rigorous steps to attain proportional representation across various racial, gender and economic groups.
Industry leaders are warning that new pools of investors could be even harder to get in the coming months. On an earnings call this month, the publicly traded crypto exchange Coinbase, which ended 2021 with 11.4 million monthly active users, said it expected in order to complete the entire year with between 7 million and 9 million monthly active users.
Moya stated that even if retail investors fall off in the wake of the recent crash, the crypto markets could be fueled by institutional investors, who are more likely to buy in after having a crash.
The Pew study also examined demographic data and found so it hadn’t changed much in the last year either. As in September, adults over 50 were only about one-fourth as likely to purchase crypto as adults under 30, while men were 2.5 times much more likely than women to place profit crypto.
The research also found that the marketing campaigns didn’t do much to heighten general crypto awareness. Last September, the percentage of those that said they’ve heard “nothing at all” abut cryptocurrency was at 14 percent. By come july 1st, after every one of the media attention, the ranks of the crypto-ignorant had shrunk by just one percentage point, to 13 percent.