Bitcoin, the Pandemic, and Shifting Generational Investing Habits

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According to data from a 2019 Harris poll and Cointelegraph, 59 percent of millennials had a positive viewpoint of Bitcoin as a fintech innovation, a sentiment that was three times higher for the group compared to retirees. Older generations typically invest in real estate, stocks, low interest rate investments such as CDs, and the stock market. 

The enthusiasm for Bitcoin contrasts to the tough economic times for Millennials, a group that has weathered the 2008 crisis and now contends with the massive economic disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. The millennials and Generation Z are both feeling shortchanged by the current economic opportunities, with housing costs and wages not living up to those enjoyed by the Boomers. 

Additionally, millennial and younger generations embrace several investment trends, including socially-responsible investing that feature funds with social or environmental mandates. This generation also employs a more DIY route to investing that includes ETFs and individual stock picks. That DIY mindset is much of what’s driving interest in Bitcoin as a short and long-term investment opportunity that holds more promise for younger investors who better understand the underlying technology. 

Bitcoin’s Advantages for the New Economy

According to the 2019 Harris poll, 20 percent of millennials have owned some Bitcoin, a number that likely increased after the pandemic sparked extensive interest in cryptocurrency. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies hold many attractive advantages that should encourage further adoptions and growth both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, including: 

  • Bitcoin is not tied to a centralized regulatory agency or government, which better reflects the current global economy
  • Cryptocurrencies are ideally suited to offer opportunity to underbanked individuals, by providing them with access to potential growth and a universal digital currency
  • Bitcoin ATMs allow users to send money abroad to another person securely and discretely. This is an easier process than using a traditional bank wire, and it also eliminates the virus risks associated with in-person bank manager transactions 
  • Countries are moving away from cash, towards digital payment methods, and Bitcoin offers unparalleled security, transparency, and ease of use for consumers
  • Bitcoin ATMs enable buyers to create and verify an account in less than a minute, so they can buy or sell Bitcoin at their convenience, without enduring lengthy bank processes 
  • Bitcoin is highly liquid, which allows investors to move in and out of their investments easily

Bitcoin ATMs and Broader Acceptance

The turbulence caused by the COVID-19 pandemic caused a spike in Bitcoin purchases and further broadening of cryptocurrency awareness. The acceptance of Bitcoin pushed individual purchasing, but the seismic shifts will come when banks and other financial players invest in Bitcoin for the long term. This is beginning to happen, as some banks offer services for Bitcoin businesses and are looking at holding Bitcoin as part of their investment portfolios to better manage risk. Additionally, large FinTech companies like PayPal are even starting to dip their toes into the cryptocurrency world.

The proliferation and usage of Bitcoin ATMs plays a vital role in Bitcoin’s growth. During the pandemic, the average number of transactions and average value per transaction conducted via Bitcoin ATMs skyrocketed. Bitcoin Depot, a provider of more than 500 Bitcoin ATMs, and other companies reported strong activity even after shutting down some of their machines in high-risk areas during the pandemic’s early stages. As the focus for virus transmission moved to in-person contact and away from touchpoints, Bitcoin Depot put these machines back in circulation and now sees a significant uptick in demand. The company’s Bitcoin ATMs feature the same security mechanisms found in traditional ATMs.

As of late June 2020, there are more than 8,000 Bitcoin ATMs worldwide. This number is expected to rise exponentially as more countries regulate cryptocurrencies and younger consumers add to their holdings or enter the Bitcoin market for the first time. 



Disclaimer: This content does not necessarily represent the views of IWB.

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