The convergence of culture toward digital assets has created new opportunities for millennial and Generation Z individuals to partake, without restriction, in a new digital revolution. According to studies, cryptocurrencies are becoming the central locus of wealth, and the younger demographic is at the forefront of this development.
2017 was the year Bitcoin and other digital tokens gained more momentum and sparked the mass audience’s interest. However, they were already popular among young individuals. As “digital natives,” both millennials and Generation Z understand the functions and services a decentralized token can bring into society.
Cryptocurrencies have become wealth generators as younger generations become less trusting of governmental institutions. Trust in the media, the government and the financial sector are at an all-time low, creating more uncertainty within the 18-34 population. Without hesitation, younger people are jumping on the cryptocurrency bandwagon because they are less concerned about future risks. They are young, and they can make mistakes, although their risk factors are well calculated.
The Millennial Perception
Millennials grew up in an uncertain financial climate, experiencing both the 9/11 crisis and the 2008 recession, with the latter making them fully aware of governmental institutions’ ability to create economic turmoil. Without trust in governmental bodies, the promise of a decentralized future through Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies seems to millennials to be a well-founded dream to pursue. The idea of generating wealth and being outside the reach of those who control capital or high capital is highly appealing.
At their inception, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Dogecoin required users to be tech-savvy and comfortable operating a system that was unknown to many. As such, millennials were the first to be familiarized with cryptocurrencies due to their adherence to computers and technology, something boomers were still lacking. As such, millennials are two times more excited about (and familiar with) Bitcoin than those between 35-44 and three times more so than those over 60 years old.
The emergence of digital currencies has created new opportunities for those left behind by the financial system. Platforms such as 4Chan or Reddit show examples of how crypto influences young minds and creates new financial opportunities. Thanks to such opportunities, those initiated in cryptocurrencies will continue to vouch for their value despite the high price volatility.
Although the cryptocurrency market has fluctuated from highs to lows, the technology has proved enduring. After each dump, Bitcoin has continued to increase in value, giving its users confidence that their unusual investment is worth the risk.
On the Flipside
- Financial democratization can be detrimental for those who can least afford it due to a lack of knowledge.
- COVID-19 has given false hopes to those who don’t understand how the market works.
- Bitcoin volatility can create unprecedented effects and can decrease interest in cryptocurrencies if the market becomes more unstable.
How Enthusiastic Is Gen Z?
Gen Z are differentiated from millenials by their preference for the use of digital tools in everyday interactions. Thus they identify strongly with the use of cryptocurrency as more than just a store of value. This reflects in the branding cryptocurrency projects such as Sushiswap or Uniswap use to resonate with a younger audience.
Like millennials, Gen Zers are self-taught individuals living in an unstable job market that doesn’t provide many opportunities. With the ability to quickly pick up information and become aware of the developments around them, their self-learning ability and entrepreneurial spirit have prepared them to become the ideal consumer for cryptocurrencies.
The branding of new coins is often skewed toward the younger generation, and the current percentage of people under 30 using cryptocurrencies has grown from 32% in 2017 to 45% in 2020, according to BTC CEO Caroline Bowler. Searching for financial freedom, they are willing to research and invest their time in understanding the foundations of blockchain so that they are not ill-informed.
Distrust in the stock market and the financial sector is the foremost reason why Gen Z is more focused on digital transactions and app-based trading. The Gamestop mania, which saw the popular Robinhood trading platform be disregarded by many due to their actions, is only one incident where young individuals disrupted trading. Such incidents resonate with Bitcoin and other currencies and have evolved into a powerful narrative invoked by many young individuals.
Millennials have led the charge into early crypto adoption; however, Gen Z crypto users, due to their digital native nature, are more likely to adhere to the new norms of blockchain technology and adopt products and technology faster. Enthusiasm for new generations of cryptocurrencies is expected to increase as more people become familiar with the technology at a younger age. It’s becoming part of their day-to-day culture, and it will be integrated into their way of living.
Despite its volatility and unpredictability, the digital gold of our time is an essential catalyst for creating a better future for Gen Z, despite the current economic climate. If cryptocurrencies help users meet their goals, perceptions of a centralized monetary system will change dramatically.