Visa study sorts out the crypto aware, the crypto-curious, and the crypto skeptics

The data: Visa’s “The Crypto Phenomenon: Consumer Attitudes & Usage” report found that crypto-aware consumers primarily saw it as an investment asset. But many also believe that in the next five years, it will be used in everyday purchases and money transfers.

The five types of crypto-aware consumers: Visa’s study, partnered with LRW, is based on 6,430 online survey responses and included focus groups and in-depth interviews with people in the US, Germany, and Argentina. The survey classified its respondents by the degree of their engagement:

Among the crypto owners: Engagement skews male and is inversely proportional with age.

  • Active crypto owners (21% global): They’ve used cryptocurrency to send or receive money, buy goods, or to accept payment at least once.
  • Passive crypto owners (11% global): They’ve purchased cryptocurrency as an investment but have not transferred/transacted with it.

Among the non-owners: Most are taking in information, but they’re cautious.

  • Crypto-curious (21% global): They’ve taken steps to learn about cryptocurrency and view it positively, but have yet to purchase any. They’re less likely to believe cryptocurrency is easy to use (38% Curious vs. 67% Owners).
  • Crypto skeptics (11% global): They’ve taken steps to learn about cryptocurrency—but haven’t purchased any and only have negative perceptions of it. They’re relatively risk-averse, with a preference for small risks with moderate rewards (76% Skeptics vs. 64% Total).
  • Unengaged (37% global): They’ve done no research on crypto; they’re indifferent to it. Their similarity to skeptics suggests that negative impressions of cryptocurrency could be the default before becoming more informed.

What this means: There’s almost universal awareness of cryptocurrency at 94% globally among adults with discretion over their household finances. The biggest drivers behind owning and using cryptocurrency are to take part in the “financial way of the future” (42% Owners) and to build wealth (41% Owners).

  • But “all publicity is good publicity” isn’t true when it comes to crypto. The financial services industry needs a better educational and public relations campaign if it’s going to win over the three types of non-owners comprising 68% of survey respondents. Visa’s finding that consumers are seeking “digestible, trusted information” may have prompted its roll out of its own crypto advisory services.
  • The holdouts view crypto as volatile (32%), unregulated, with limited recourse for hacking and theft (31% and 28%, respectively), requiring a steep learning curve (55%). In addition, in some markets, respondents express distaste for crypto’s environmental impact.