Cryptocurrency has been on a wild ride over the last month or so following the IPO of crypto exchange platform Coinbase in April. Over this time, the general population has continued to become increasingly aware of cryptocurrencies, if even only by small margins.
Specific cryptocurrencies, however, have seen even greater levels of awareness. Bitcoin, while still the most well-known cryptocurrency, may soon find greater competition in Ethereum and Dogecoin, among others.
Accordingly, with the increased awareness of individual cryptos since April, investment, and intent to invest, has continued to inch up.
But that doesn’t mean people aren’t concerned about cryptocurrency’s ability to drastically change in value (both increase and decrease) due to public figures’ statements. While this happens to traditional stocks as well, that doesn’t mean potential investors aren’t still spooked by it.
Forty-one percent of the general population has at least some concern over the value of cryptos being inflated or deflated due to these kinds of comments.
Interestingly, this concern differs based on which cryptos respondents have heard of. For example, 42% of people who have heard of Bitcoin, the most well-known currency, are concerned about high-profile statements affecting its value.
Dogecoin demonstrates a similar percentage of concern at 44%. Ethereum and Litecoin, however, both demonstrate 55% of the same levels of concern.
It seems that the more aware a person is about various cryptocurrencies, beyond just the most popular one or two, the more concerned they are about the effect public discussion could have on its value.
And it’s not just individuals unintentionally manipulating the value of crypto — businesses can do the same. Tesla, for example, bought $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin in February, simultaneously becoming one of the first major corporations to accept it as a form of payment and spiking its value. Congruently, Tesla backtracked on the currency earlier in May, causing its value to drop in response.
To Tesla’s credit, it cited the enormous environmental cost of mining Bitcoin as the primary driver behind exiting the crypto fast lane.
At scale, worldwide Bitcoin mining accounts for more energy use than some entire countries. And the majority of the general population is concerned about the environmental impact of crypto.
And this concern about crypto’s impact on the environment is shared by people who are concerned about the environment in general.
Regardless, forty-two percent of the general population isn’t concerned about cryptos’ effect on the environment. So the question remains: why aren’t people investing in cryptocurrencies?
Over the last two weeks, the leading response (32%) is that people just don’t think the tech is legitimate, followed closely by an overall lack of understanding of it (25%).
Interestingly, however, while the leading reasons for not investing in cryptocurrency haven’t changed since last month, they experienced some clear movement across April and May.
Those thinking cryptocurrency is illegitimate peaked in early May at 34%, while those not understanding it dropped, only to eventually return to April levels. This data suggests a number of people who previously weren’t aware of cryptocurrency suddenly became so, bringing with them their lack of understanding or biases against it, until eventually evening back out.
Another important point to note is that the numbers of people who don’t understand cryptocurrency have begun to eclipse those who think it is illegitimate for the first time. This is most likely a result of the high-profile news coverage of the rollercoaster ride many cryptocurrencies have had over the past month. Dogecoin, for example, rapidly rose in April, only to nearly collapse in May. Many more people are becoming aware of the technology and its legitimacy, though that doesn’t mean they understand it any better.
Cryptocurrency trends, however, are clearly beginning to demonstrate more mainstream attention and awareness. Though still small in numbers, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to see a new class of investor begin to emerge as the tech continues to earn legitimacy and stability. CivicScience will continue to keep its thumb on this pulse over the coming months.