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The majority of Americans increasingly see crypto as a chancy investment.
About 60% of Americans believe investing in digital currency is highly risky — up from 45% in 2021, according to the recent CNBC Make It: Your Money survey, conducted in partnership with Momentive. Another 26% believe it is moderately risky.
Younger generations, however, appear to be more willing to take a chance on crypto investing than older generations.
About 38% of Gen Zers (defined here as 25 and under) and 46% of millennials (defined here as age 26 to 41) say crypto investing is highly risky. On the other hand, a little over 60% of Gen Xers (defined here as age 42 to 57) and around 80% of baby boomers and the silent generation (defined here as age 58 and older) consider it to be high risk.
And recent shakeups in the world of crypto aren’t helping to alleviate investors’ uncertainty.
The crypto market has lost a little over $2 trillion since last year. On top of that, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange platforms, FTX, went from a $32 billion valuation in January to filing for bankruptcy on Nov. 11. Blockfi, another distressed crypto firm, filed for bankruptcy shortly after, on Nov. 28.
‘The shine has come off these coins’: The popularity of crypto as an investment
Crypto remains among the least popular investments: Only about 10% of Americans say they own any, according to the survey.
Among those that do, millennials are the biggest fans of virtual currency. About 15% of millennial respondents say they own crypto, compared with 12% of Gen Zers and Gen Xers, and less than 5% of baby boomers and the silent generation.
“For many younger investors, the interest in crypto is due to the lottery-ticket atmosphere, where it appears that you can get rich quickly,” James Royal, principal reporter at Bankrate, tells CNBC Make It.
However, with price of bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market value, hovering substantially lower than its Nov. 2021 highs, as of Dec. 12, confidence in crypto investing appears to be waning among investors of all ages.
“With major cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and Ethereum down more than 70% from their all-time highs, it’s little wonder that the shine has come off these coins,” Royal says.
Unlike stocks and bonds, crypto doesn’t derive its value from an underlying entity. As it’s considered to be a highly volatile asset that is subject to erratic price fluctuations, financial experts typically advise against investing more than you’re willing to potentially lose.
“With crypto coins, you’re not buying a profit interest in a business. Rather, it’s more like you’re buying an arcade token and hoping someone will pay you more for it later on,” Royal says.