How Many People In The United States Own Cryptocurrency?

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Cryptocurrency is often lauded as “the future of money,” with quite a few caveats. As crypto becomes more and more popular, it makes one wonder exactly how many people in the United States own cryptocurrency?

It’s a digital store of value, sure. But can you buy a cup of coffee at a gas station with it? Can you pay your mortgage with it? Can you get universally paid in crypto as a wage for an honest day’s work?

It also lacks any form of protection from inflation – meaning if you have $100 worth of cryptocurrency today, with a sudden decrease in value, you can buy less than half what you did before.

Ouch.

These are some of the real-life, actionable questions crypto faces. Sure, you could buy a Tesla with Bitcoin for a hot second. But that only lasted a few weeks before Elon Musk changed his tune, citing the environmental impact of Bitcoin mining.

To truly be akin to fiat money itself, cryptocurrency still needs widespread societal adaption. This means day-to-day use and transactions, especially for goods and services. This would also require overall price stability where it’s no longer categorized as a risky investment or asset.

Digital currency has become mainstream in recent years – a rollercoaster of explosive growth, volatility, and controversy. Many banks, businesses, and payment processors like Visa and Mastercard are slowly coming around to the idea of a crypto-forward future.

But… How mainstream? What’s the hard data about the crypto boom?

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To wrap our head around societal adoption, let’s compare overall cryptocurrency holders to the overall population.

So…

How many people in the United States own cryptocurrency?

In April, Gemini crypto exchange released its State of U.S. Crypto Report 2021. Gemini is the cryptocurrency exchange founded by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, of The Social Network fame.

According to the report, Gemini estimates that more than 21.2 million adults – about 14% of the U.S population – own cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin or Ethereum.

The study polled 3,000 people from October 19 – November 16, 2020.

A key finding from the Gemini report: The “average” crypto investor is a 38-year-old male with an annual income around $111,000.

According to the report, a majority (74%) of cryptocurrency owners fall between the ages of 25 and 44, with another 19% between the ages of 45 and 55.

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21.2 million adults might sound like a lot, but let’s put that number in perspective with the overall U.S. population.

According to the most recent 2020 Census data, there are an estimated 209,128,094 adults over 18 in the United States.

Even that 14% number seems off – Mainstream adoption still has a long way to go.

Here’s a graph from the Gemini report to put the demographics of crypto owners in perspective:

Discrepancies in the data

A recent study from Piplsay concludes that more Americans own cryptocurrency from the data presented in the Gemini report. The Piplsay report is based on 5,061 online responses in the United States from individuals aged 18 years and older.

According to May 2021 Piplsay study:

  • 33% of Americans own one or more types of cryptocurrencies.
  • 47% of Americans are willing to purchase products or services with crypto.
  • 42% of Americans believe cryptocurrencies will replace traditional currencies in the future.

The Piplsay study also found that 49% of millennials polled own cryptocurrency, making the biggest generational HODLers. Compare this to 38% of Gen Xers and 13% of GenZ.

Also, millennials are more willing to use crypto as a form of payment than other generations, according to Piplsay.

53% say they are “very likely” to purchase products or services with crypto vs. 40% of GenX polled and 7% of GenZ.

The Crypto-Curious

According to Gemini report, two-thirds of US adults are “interested” in crypto. The Gemini report expands on this audience, calling it the “crypto-curious.” These are people interested in cryptocurrency yet watching from the sidelines.

The crypto-curious audience is defined as those who do not currently own cryptocurrency but indicate either wanting to learn more or planning to buy soon. This group is significant in size, comprising 63% of U.S. adults, and has the potential to disrupt what we think of as the “average” crypto holder. Roughly 13% of U.S. adults plan to purchase cryptocurrency in the next 12 months. This adds up to approximately 19.3 million adults — which would nearly double the current crypto investor population. In taking a deeper look at the “crypto-curious” audience, we see some emerging trends that have the potential to change the profile of the average crypto holder.

Conclusion

In the immortal words of Joe Strummer, “the future is unwritten.”

There’s no denying that more Americans own cryptocurrency at the present than they ever have before.

As to exactly how many people in the United States own cryptocurrency? There’s no true consensus on the data – it’s based on self-selected surveys at the moment.

As digital assets explode with interest (and scrutiny over the volatility), the smart money is on government regulation at some point in the future.

Related: As Crypto Plummets, Here’s What Americans Think About The Future Of Cryptocurrencies

Author
B. Carlisle

Contributing editor at Wealth Gang. An entrepreneur at heart, he's passionate about meaningful ways to leverage technology and social media for business opportunities and side hustles.