Pew Study Suggests America Still Behind on Cryptocurrency


May 9, 2023

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Despite the millions of dollars spent on cryptocurrency advertising in 2022, a new study suggests Americans are behind on investing in digital currency. And among those who have, nearly half have buyer’s regret.

The new data comes from a Pew Research Center study, published in late August 2022.

Only 16% invested in cryptocurrency, 46% “did worse” than expected

Among those surveyed by Pew Research throughout July 2022, only 16% of Americans said they have invested in, traded, or used a cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum. The vast majority said they have heard a little about cryptocurrency but have not invested in it, while 12% say they have heard nothing about it.

Of the small number of those who have invested in crypto, 78% said a different way to invest was a minor reason for purchasing digital tokens, while 31% called it a major reason. At least 75% of respondents said using crypto as a “good way to make money” was a minor reason for investing, while 54% said the idea of investing was easier than other methods were their minor motivation.

However, those who have invested in digital tokens are not necessarily happy about their investments. Nearly half – 46% of respondents – said their crypto investments did worse than they expected. Around one-in-three said their investments did “about as same as they expected,” while only 15% said their investments did “better than they expected.”

NFTs not popular among digital Americans

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have received new ubiquity this year between celebrity launches and high-stakes thefts, they remain relatively unknown among the public. Half of Americans asked in the study say they know something about them, but a very small minority have actually purchased them.

While the majority of Americans either know about cryptocurrency or have invested in it, fewer know about NFTs. While 49% of respondents said they knew a little about the tokens, only 2% say they purchased one. Of those buyers, the largest group is between 18 and 29, and are more likely to come from a minority background. Among them, 5% identified as Hispanic, 4% identified as Black, and 3% were English-speaking Asians – compared to only 1% of White Americans.

Economic status had very little to do with investing in an NFT. While more individuals in the upper- and middle-income tiers said they knew at least a little about NFTs, buyers were almost identically spread across lower, middle, and higher income households.

Men dominate cryptocurrency buys, while women rule NFTs

Even though there is a gender gap in the crypto world, the divide is less about knowledge and more about the kind of digital assets men and women are more likely to purchase. While 23% of men said they invested in, traded, or otherwise used a cryptocurrency, only 8% of women did the same.

When it comes to NFTs, women led on investing in and trading tokens. The largest group to buy NFTs are women 18-29, with 7% saying they owned at least one. Men 18-29 were the second largest, with 5% admitting to owning an NFT.