Younger generations are propelling crypto adoption as they look beyond traditional institutions to chart their own paths to economic opportunity, according to crypto exchange Coinbase’s latest State of Crypto report.
The report finds that Millennials and Gen Z have far less faith in the current financial system. They are instead embracing cryptocurrency and blockchain as tools to access new forms of wealth and prosperity.
Key generational insights:
- Just 7% of Millennials and 6% of Gen Z say the financial system works for people like them. Over half use it rarely or never.
- Less than 20% think the U.S. system is better than others globally. They describe it as slow, confusing, political, and expensive.
- Over 75% of Gen Z want to forge their own journey versus following conventional paths like college and homeownership.
- Nearly 40% see crypto as expanding their economic opportunities compared to traditional finance. Over 30% already own crypto.
- Half say they’ll likely back crypto-friendly candidates in 2024. 40% want politicians to support technologies like crypto.
Why Young People Are Disillusioned
Younger Americans came of age during seismic financial events like the 2008 crisis, which derailed their economic prospects, according to the report. Costly degrees and debts, high housing costs, and rampant inflation have further strained their finances.
On top of these pressures, they view legacy financial institutions as outdated and inadequate. Few believe the “American Dream” is achievable anymore through conventional means.
Gen Z shows especially stark pessimism, with just 6% saying the system works for them. Over half call it confusing, discriminatory, and designed to benefit corporations over consumers.
Faced with a system they view as broken, young people are taking control where they can:
- 45% want multiple income streams, compared to 33% of older generations.
- Over 75% want to chart their own course rather than following prescribed steps.
- Millennials lead in side gigs and hustle to achieve their goals. Gen Z closely follows.
Crypto and its underlying blockchain technology offer new avenues to generate wealth as young people reshape traditional notions of career, assets, and finance.
Crypto Providing New Economic Opportunities
- 38% say crypto expands their economic prospects versus traditional finance.
- One in three Millennials and Gen Z already own crypto. Key draws are wealth generation, portfolio diversification, and frictionless cross-border functionality.
- Beyond investment, they see real utility in crypto as digital money for an increasingly digital world.
Millennials and Gen Z also recognize crypto’s broader potential to transform finance and society:
- Up to 44% believe cryptocurrency and blockchain can increase economic opportunities.
- Over 40% see cryptocurrencies as the future of finance.
- Half say they’ll likely support pro-cryptocurrency candidates in 2024.
Their growing economic influence will steadily drive the political adoption of crypto. Younger generations now represent 40% of the voting-age population, rising to a majority by 2028.
Strong Sentiment Among the Underbanked
The underbanked, who use services like payday loans despite having bank accounts, are particularly keen on crypto’s prospects:
- 35% already own crypto, versus 20% of the general population.
- Over half see cryptocurrencies as expanding their economic opportunities.
- Half view crypto as beneficial for society, far more than the fully banked.
This diverse and financially pressured group is primed to utilize cryptocurrency as a tool for financial inclusion.
Students recognize crypto’s rising relevance and are seeking to gain skills:
- Nearly 50% of university students see crypto/blockchain as important for the future.
- Up to 30% are interested in working in the crypto/blockchain industry.
- Top schools now offer nearly 200 crypto-related courses among them.
Prominent universities are adding cryptocurriculum and expertise to prepare students for the future.
Younger Americans are leading a cryptocurrency reformation as they reject legacy financial institutions and forge their own economic destiny. Crypto’s borderless, digital, and decentralized nature aligns with their values and needs. Their growing numbers ensure crypto’s influence will expand in politics, business, and culture.