“At the heart of this change are the asset classes themselves,” Hirsch said.
“Younger investors’ experience with the stock market has seen a great deal of loss of trust, with the fall of Lehman Brothers because of irresponsible practices followed by the worst recession since the Great Depression. Trust further eroded when Americans saw how hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money are funneled to the largest financial institutions while their savings evaporated and how banks get free money through quantitative easing while their cost of living continued to rise.
“Immutability is native to blockchains and that makes real-time audit to be sensible and cost-effective and that is why millennials and Gen X perceive crypto exchanges as less likely to be subject to manipulation and less likely to be a place where bad actors get rewarded with taxpayer money.”
As more investors become educated on blockchain and crypto, we will continue this trend play out, Hirsch predicts.
The US-focused online survey, conducted by Provoke Insights, also found that investors across all age groups including millennials are enthusiastic about the prospect of traditional financial institutions offering crypto assets, showcasing rising demand for institutional crypto offerings.
Among investors across all age groups that do not trade crypto, 59% said they would invest in crypto if it were offered by a traditional financial institution. Meanwhile, 92% of current crypto traders would invest more money if a conventional financial institution provided this investing option.
Another key finding of the survey is the growing demand for alternative crypto products with half of investors surveyed expressed interest in a crypto allocation in their 401k plans.
Though demand for crypto-assets in 401k portfolios is clearly on the rise, a number of regulatory and market changes must occur before this becomes a mainstream offering, Hirsch said.
“We would need to see more advisors become educated on crypto assets and getting comfortable recommending their customers to shift into crypto markets from traditional equity markets,” he said. “Mainstream traction will also be aided by the approval of ETFs that track crypto assets. At that point, we could see crypto offerings in 401k portfolios.”
Other popular alternative crypto products cited by respondents include crypto loans, with 76% of online investors expressing keenness in gaining interest on crypto assets, and 47% interested in taking out a loan in crypto. As for crypto traders, 96% said they would like to gain interest on crypto assets and three quarters said they would take out a loan in crypto.
The eToro survey results echo a study published in December 2018 by Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance which found that despite the severe bear market, the number of verified users of cryptocurrencies almost doubled in the first three quarters of 2018, showcasing rapid adoption of cryptocurrencies.
According to the report, total user accounts at service providers now exceed 139 million with at least 35 million identity-verified users, the latter growing nearly 4X in 2017.