Financial and Monetary Systems

Is cryptocurrency the future of finance? Here's what a new study shows 

Policy-makers should look to a bipartisan approach when legislating the cryptocurrency industry.

Policy-makers should look to a bipartisan approach when legislating the cryptocurrency industry. Image: Getty Images

Michael Sonnenshein
Chief Executive Officer, Grayscale Investments, LLC
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  • A new survey shows that a majority of Americans believe cryptocurrency is the future of finance.
  • Both Democrats and Republicans believe cryptocurrency needs stronger regulation.
  • With strong appeal to young people and minorities, cryptocurrency has the potential to create a fairer economy.

With the US 2022 midterm elections still in the balance, economic issues have dominated recent discussions and anticipated voting behaviour. Against this backdrop, a national survey found there's a new topic concerning the economy that is becoming increasingly salient with the electorate: cryptocurrency.

The results from the survey, conducted by Grayscale in partnership with The Harris Poll, show that crypto presents a rare opportunity to bring voters together in support of bipartisan legislation that will benefit American investors across the board – from those who are unbanked and using crypto to access the global financial system to those who seek to have crypto in their retirement accounts.

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The survey found that more than half of Americans (53%) agree that “cryptocurrencies are the future of finance,” including 59% of Democrats and 51% of Republicans. Not only do both Democrats and Republicans believe that cryptocurrency is an issue that is growing in importance, but they also agree on the need for appropriate regulation.

Nearly four in five Americans consulted (79%) feel there needs to be clearer regulation of cryptocurrency – with support from Democrats (87%) and Republicans (76%).

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, voters view cryptocurrency as a path to a more equitable financial system. The survey found that over half of adults (56%) say that innovations in finance that rely less on banks/financial intermediaries (e.g. cryptocurrencies) will create a more equitable economy (by allowing more people to access the global financial system).

Below are four key takeaways that policy-makers should be aware of as they continue to educate voters on their legislative priorities after the midterm elections.

There is broad consensus about cryptocurrency's growing importance.
There is broad consensus about cryptocurrency's growing importance. Image: Grayscale

1. Despite the political division in the United States, a majority of Republicans and Democrats agree that cryptocurrencies represent the future of finance.

Amid a political environment growing in polarity in the United States and beyond, the increased importance of cryptocurrency as an asset class is a topic that both Democrats and Republicans are rallying around. The poll found that more than half of Americans (53%), including 59% of Democrats and 51% of Republicans, see cryptocurrencies as the future of finance. Further, about one in five registered voters (22%) own cryptocurrency, and ownership levels are similar among Democrats (27%) and Republicans (22%).

As cryptocurrency ownership spreads, the need to regulate the industry is rising.
As cryptocurrency ownership spreads, the need to regulate the industry is rising. Image: Grayscale

2. As momentum builds for the bipartisan bills being worked on in Congress, Americans overwhelmingly say they want the US government to establish clear rules for crypto.

The poll found that nearly four in five Americans (79%) feel there needs to be clearer regulation of cryptocurrency – with support from Democrats (87%) and Republicans (76%). Further, three-quarters of Americans (77%), including 83% of Democrats and 75% of Republicans, want the federal government to establish clear rules for cryptocurrency trading. Not only do Democrats and Republicans seem to agree on the overarching importance of cryptocurrency, they also agree on the need for regulation to ensure that cryptocurrency continues to be a safeviable investment option for American investors.

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3. Crypto has strong appeal among minorities and young people. Americans also see cryptocurrency as means to create a more equitable economy.

Of those polled, Black Americans (31%) and Hispanic Americans (38%) are more likely to own crypto than white Americans (16%), and about a third (37%) of registered voters aged 18-34 own crypto. Importantly, over half of adults (56%) say that innovations in finance that rely less on banks/financial intermediaries (e.g. cryptocurrencies) will create a more equitable economy. This poll revealed that many view crypto as the path to a more equitable financial system in the United States, which is something that policy-makers should be aware of as they think about prioritizing cryptocurrency regulation within their legislative agenda.

4. Americans view crypto as one part of a diversified investment portfolio. A growing portion of young Americans want to be able to access that investment in the future.

The poll also found that crypto ownership is dominated by younger Americans. Crypto is the most popular investment tool among Americans aged 18-34, beating out individual company stocks, mutual funds, bonds and more. Further, one in five Americans ages 18-34 want the ability to own crypto in their retirement accounts (20%). As younger Americans who own crypto begin to age and become more politically engaged, issues surrounding cryptocurrency are likely to grow substantially in importance at the voting booths.

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How is the World Economic Forum promoting the responsible use of blockchain?

Ultimately, these results reveal that there is clear, broad bipartisan support for greater action in Washington to clarify and strengthen cryptocurrency rules and regulations, representing a rare opportunity for bipartisan efforts to succeed. The US has always been a leader in the global financial system, and its slow response to cryptocurrencies has threatened that position. While this poll is focused on Americans, there are broader takeaways here that policy-makers around the world should note: Crypto is here to stay, and is a topic that’s increasingly top of mind for future generations. The takeaways from this survey are a call to action to jurisdictions around the world. Governments need to act expeditiously to determine ways to support the continued growth of the crypto industry, while simultaneously protecting their citizens’ financial futures.

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

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