Win New Customers:

Insights into cryptocurrency adoption across Africa, Europe and America

 

Overview

This white paper analyses and evaluates the current climate and adoption rates of cryptocurrency in Africa, Europe and North America; namely South Africa, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the United States.

Cryptocurrency ownership in Africa, Europe and North America reached an average of 5.7% in 2022, higher than the global average of 4.2%. An increased cryptocurrency awareness explains the gap. From our sample pool of 5000 respondents across South Africa, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the United States, people who have heard of cryptocurrency increased from an average of 67.7% in 20191 to 83.7% in 2022; a 16.0% increase. Cryptocurrency awareness is on the rise, rapidly.

Further investigations reveal that 50.6% of cryptocurrency owners in these regions are younger adults; many are under 35, highly educated and affluent. These individuals tend to have a higher propensity to make purchases using cryptocurrency. And in fact, 48.5% of them are already using cryptocurrency for payments.

With increased ownership and interest of cryptocurrency in these regions, businesses that start accepting cryptocurrencies are able to gain access to this new segment of customers.

 

Introduction to Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that can be used to purchase goods and services. It uses an online ledger with powerful cryptography to secure online transactions. These transactions are verified, and records are maintained by a decentralised system using cryptography, known as Blockchain.

A Blockchain is a decentralised ledger of all transactions across a peer-to-peer network. Using this technology, businesses can confirm transactions without a need for a central clearing authority. Potential applications include cross-border money transfer, settling trades, voting, and many other activities.

With 47% of the total market capitalisation in 2021, Bitcoin remains the dominant cryptocurrency and continues to gain momentum in being recognised as a normalised than a speculative asset.2 In 2021, ComplyAdvantage reportedly estimated that cryptocurrency commercial transactions reached roughly US$1.5 trillion. And in 2020, 90% of cryptocurrency service providers are accepting Bitcoin as a payment method.3,4

Furthermore, Gemini’s research conducted between 2021 and 2022 in 20 countries worldwide found that a majority of respondents believe that cryptocurrency is the future of money. And 41% of crypto owners surveyed globally purchased crypto for the first time in 2021.5

 

Global Adoption of Cryptocurrencies

We estimate that there are already 320 million unique crypto-asset users in the second quarter of 2022; compared to just 101 million users in 2020, a 217% increase.6

Comparing the adoption rate of cryptocurrency users to the Internet’s adoption rate, we can predict that cryptocurrency users will reach 500 million by mid-2023, if the current trends continue.7

 

Adoption of Cryptocurrencies Across
Africa, Europe and North America

From our research, we found that the average cryptocurrency adoption rate in Africa, Europe and North America is 5.7%, 1.35x greater than the global average of 4.2%.

Below is an overview of the cryptocurrency adoption in the 5 markets we will be focusing on in this white paper: United States, South Africa, United Kingdom, France and Germany.

Globally, (41%) of respondents said they are crypto-curious. The crypto-curious are defined as consumers who do not currently own crypto, but are either interested in learning more or say they are likely to acquire cryptocurrency in the next year.8

Compared to other regions, nations in Europe had a high number of crypto-curious respondents. Germany led among the crypto-curious with 53% saying they are interested in learning more about crypto or purchasing crypto in the coming year, followed by United Kingdom (49%) and France (48%).9

While a third of cryptocurrency owners are female today, females make up nearly half (47%) of non-owners in developed countries who anticipate buying crypto in the next year, which suggests that the number of female cryptocurrency owners may rise in the future.10

 

Cryptocurrency Ownership in America

Key Statistics

It is estimated that 46 million people, 13.7% of America’s total population, currently own cryptocurrency.

 

Awareness

From the survey conducted, we see 81% of US adults have heard of cryptocurrencies in 2022. We see a significant rise of 12 percentage points, compared to 69% of US adults from 2020. This suggests a growing awareness among Americans regarding cryptocurrency.

Demographics

Breaking down cryptocurrency ownership by income, 44% of US cryptocurrency owners have an annual income of US$100,000 or more. This suggests that cryptocurrencies are largely owned by more wealthy Americans.

Majority of the US cryptocurrency owners are in the 18-44 age group (82%). Only 7% of them are 55 and above. This concludes that cryptocurrencies are largely owned by younger Americans.

Highly educated Americans are more likely to own cryptocurrencies, with 66% of them holding a Bachelor’s degree or higher. On top of that, a higher percentage of American men (62%) own cryptocurrencies than women (38%).

Purpose of Ownership

59% of US cryptocurrency owners are already using cryptocurrency to make purchases, with 2021 marking an exponential increase of 14 percentage points (y-o-y growth) in purchases made using cryptocurrency compared to 46% in 2020.


 

Cryptocurrency Ownership in the
United Kingdom

Key Statistics

It is estimated that 4.2 million people, 6.2% of the United Kingdom’s total population, currently own cryptocurrency.

Awareness

From the survey conducted, we see 74% of UK adults have heard of cryptocurrencies in 2022. We see a rise of 3 percentage points, compared to 71% from 2020. This suggests a growing awareness among Britons regarding cryptocurrency.

Demographics

Breaking down cryptocurrency ownership by income, ownership levels are higher among the wealthy. 40% of the surveyed Britons who own cryptocurrency have income over £200,000, and 18% of them with income ranging from £100,000 to £200,000.

 

Majority of the United Kingdom’s cryptocurrency owners are in the 18-34 age group (56%). Only 4.6% of them are 55 and above. This suggests that cryptocurrencies are largely owned by younger Britons.

Highly educated Britons are more likely to own cryptocurrencies, 46.3% of them hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. On top of that, a higher percentage of Briton men (60%) own cryptocurrencies than women (40%).

Purpose of Ownership

53% of UK cryptocurrency owners are already using cryptocurrency to make purchases, with 2021 marking an exponential increase of 11 percentage points (y-o-y growth) in purchases made using cryptocurrency compared to 42% in 2020.


 

Cryptocurrency Ownership in France

Key Statistics

It is estimated that 3.4 million people, 5.0% of France’s total population, currently own cryptocurrency.

 

Awareness

From the survey conducted, we see a staggering 90% of French adults have heard of cryptocurrencies. This has risen across our data findings by a significant 49 percentage points in 2022 – from 51% in 2021. This suggests a growing awareness among the French regarding cryptocurrency.

Demographics

Breaking down cryptocurrency ownership by income, ownership levels are significantly higher among the very wealthy. 67% of the surveyed French have an annual income greater than €300,000, more than twice that of any other income group.

Majority of French cryptocurrency owners are in the 18-34 age group (50%). Only 6% of them are 55 and above. This suggests that cryptocurrencies are largely owned by younger French residents.

Highly educated French are more likely to own cryptocurrencies, 51% of them hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. On top of that, a higher percentage of French men (70.5%) own cryptocurrencies than women (29.5%).

Purpose of Ownership

The number of French crypto owners using crypto for purchases is also seeing growth. Despite a lower proportion of users using crypto for purchases at first glance, a closer look will reveal an increase of 250k crypto users that are using crypto for purchases in 2022. 


 

Cryptocurrency Ownership in Germany

Key Statistics

It is estimated that 4.9 million people, 5.8% of Germany’s total population, currently own cryptocurrency.

 

Awareness

From the survey conducted, we see a staggering 86% of German adults have heard of cryptocurrencies. This has risen across our data findings by a significant 6 percentage points in 2022 – from 80% in 2021. This suggests a growing awareness among Germans regarding cryptocurrency. 

Demographics

Breaking down cryptocurrency ownership by income, ownership levels are significantly higher among the wealthy. 67% of the surveyed Germans have an annual income over €800,000, 44% of them between €200,000 to €800,000, at least twice that of other income groups.

Majority of German cryptocurrency owners are in the 25-44 age group (67%). Only 9% of them are 55 and above. This concludes that cryptocurrencies are largely owned by German millennials. 

Education does not play a significant factor in whether a German owns cryptocurrencies, as only 27% of Germans have a Bachelor’s degree or higher. The remaining 73% either hold a diploma or a lower educational qualification. On top of that, a higher percentage of German men (74%) own cryptocurrencies than women (26%).

Purpose of Ownership

The number of German crypto owners using crypto for purchases is also seeing growth. Despite a lower proportion of users using crypto for purchases at first glance, a closer look will reveal an increase of 600k crypto users that are using crypto for purchases in 2022. 


Cryptocurrency Ownership in South Africa

Key Statistics

It is estimated that 7.7 million people, 12.5% of South Africa’s total population, currently own cryptocurrency.

Awareness

From our survey conducted, we see a staggering 86% of South African adults have heard of cryptocurrencies. This has risen across our data findings by a significant 20 percentage points in 2022 – from 66% in 2021.

Demographics

A large majority of South African cryptocurrency owners are in the 18-44 age group (83%). Only 7% of them are 55 and above. This suggests that cryptocurrencies are largely owned by South African millennials.

Highly educated South Africans are more likely to own cryptocurrencies, 46% of them hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. On top of that, only a slightly higher percentage of South African men (56.5%) own cryptocurrencies than women (43.5%), which suggests that ownership of cryptocurrencies between the genders is roughly equal.

Purpose of Ownership

52% of South African cryptocurrency owners are already using cryptocurrency to make purchases in 2022.

 

 

How can Businesses Leverage
Cryptocurrency Payment?

Overall, merchants broadly agree that organizations accepting digital currencies have a competitive advantage in the market (87%). In fact, an overwhelming majority of those who currently accept cryptocurrency as a payment instrument (93%) have already seen a positive impact on their business’s customer metrics, such as customer base growth and brand perception, and they expect this to continue next year.11

“Although digital currency payments may not yet be an everyday occurrence for the average customer, overall interest in digitally native solutions is significant, especially among younger generations. There are also shared expectations of broad adoption in the future. Around 85% of surveyed merchants expect that digital currency payments will be ubiquitous among suppliers in their industry in five years.

In line with the above, more than 85% of the organisations are giving high or very high priority to enabling cryptocurrency payments, while roughly 83% are doing the same for stablecoins. As such, and likely driven by larger retail adoption/availability of cryptocurrencies, it seems as though these assets have a role as the primary starting point for adoption.” -Corporates Using Crypto, Deloitte12

 

 

Conclusion

From the findings in this white paper, we conclude there is a high level of cryptocurrency ownership in the United States, South Africa, United Kingdom, France and Germany.

People in the regions have displayed an increased understanding of cryptocurrency. They hold a positive outlook towards the possible widespread adoption of cryptocurrency for day-to-day transactions. Many of these cryptocurrency owners are younger, more educated and affluent.

In November 2021, Bitcoin values reached a record high of over US$68,000. Not just that, huge companies and large corporations like Paypal, Microsoft, AT&T and Revolut are already inside the cryptocurrency space. Private investors who are billionaires are also investing in Bitcoin heavily.

Given the widespread adoption of cryptocurrency in today’s world, businesses would benefit by integrating cryptocurrency payment into their payment ecosystem.

It is a new opportunity for you to reach new markets, and win new customers.

 

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