A new survey from the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) and the UK-based crypto payments platform Wirex has underlined a growing awareness of cryptocurrencies’ remittance capabilities.
The report analysed data from nearly 10,000 participants in a late 2021 survey, including responses from general consumer audiences in four separate markets: the United States, United Kingdom, Mexico and Singapore.
Responses were analysed on dimensions of geography, employment status, gender, and age.
What does the data show?
The drive towards crypto as a mainstream payment method is being exacerbated by current frustrations with the existing system.
Fifty-three per cent of people reported feeling that they paid too much in fees for international remittances using traditional means, whilst 37 per cent weren’t even sure what they paid in fees.
In parallel, the survey dispels a series of myths about cryptocurrency awareness and usage, showing how cryptocurrency has come to the forefront of public consciousness – over 80 per cent – in every market surveyed.
The research reveals the growing use of crypto for international remittances, especially by consumers in emerging markets. The key takeaway from the survey is that crypto is not just for speculation and has real utility for sending money to/from these markets.
Over half of respondents see crypto as a valid alternative to sending money overseas using traditional means, and 45 per cent have already done so.
Women’s attitudes toward crypto are increasingly positive. Forty-five per cent of women surveyed and 59 per cent of men see crypto as a viable way of sending money overseas.
According to Denelle Dixon, SDF CEO and executive director: “The results confirm what we have seen in terms of growing real-world use cases for blockchain and cryptocurrency in emerging markets on the Stellar network.
“Consumers are adopting these new ways of sending money cross-border as a faster, cheaper alternative to traditional banking rails.”
While low awareness of crypto may have been a barrier in the past, the study shows nearly all respondents had at least heard of cryptocurrency.
When asked why they don’t use crypto, survey participants cited fears of volatility (63 per cent) and security risk (55 per cent), as well as it being just too complicated to use.
As a result, Wirex and SDF have initiatives to increase awareness and education of businesses and consumers about the utility of blockchain, especially for cross-border transactions.
Wirex CEO and co-founder Pavel Matveev said: “When we published results from last year’s report, we saw a great appetite for the information, but it also raised even more questions. In this year’s report, we went deeper in our research by focusing more on users’ banking and crypto habits and attitudes across a mainstream population.
“The rise in awareness of cryptocurrency is only the beginning. We see huge opportunities in DeFi, multi-currency users, and cross-border remittances.”
The findings of the survey correlate with the results of a similar poll by StarkWare, which found that the majority of Americans are convinced that cryptocurrency will be ‘the future of finance’.
Some 53 per cent of respondents in its American survey subscribed to this view. The figure was at its highest – 68 per cent – among 25 to 34 years olds, and slightly lower – 61 per cent – in people aged between 35 and 44 years old.
This again matches up with the recent data of Dynata, which found that in terms of investing in crypto, male investors from the UK were some of the most prolific users. The figures from StarkWare show how one in five of its respondents have invested in cryptocurrency, and the proportion rises to 28 per cent among the 25 to 34 demographic.
The Dynata study also discusses the interest of American workers in crypto paychecks, of which 37 per cent expressed their interest.
Despite the fact that these are not majority figures, all three of these reports show that interest in crypto and its payment capabilities is there.
Those who have invested are constantly checking and adjusting their assets.
According to StarkWare, 82 per cent have at least one crypto tracker on their phone. Exactly half of them say they ‘fiddle or amend’ their holdings daily, and 27 per cent of investors do so several times a day. Only 14 per cent of those with active crypto holdings let a week pass without making changes.
“This poll shows how widespread crypto has become, while indicating just how huge it will soon become,” said Eli Ben-Sasson, co-founder and president of StarkWare Industries, which commissioned the research.
“We see that young Americans, those who will soon shape the economy, are especially tuned in to crypto. It’s an important insight that they are investing in large numbers, and overwhelmingly convinced crypto will be ‘the future.'”
StarkWare commissioned the poll to mark the launch of the new StarkNet platform, which aims to make it easy and cost-effective for developers to build blockchain apps — a key requirement to make crypto part of everyday life for the general public.
Until now, crypto app rollout has been slow because a crisis surrounding blockchain’s bandwidth has acted as a deterrent.
Uri Kolodny, co-founder and CEO of StarkWare, commented: “We wanted to research public opinion as we launch StarkNet, to get a sense of how much the general public expects to use crypto over the coming years. The results are exciting, but also unsettling.
“They highlight huge enthusiasm for crypto, and show that blockchain is creaking under the weight of current use. Unless we start to work smarter, blockchain simply won’t be able to cope with growing demand.”
The poll showed that environmental concerns over blockchain are widespread. Just over a third of respondents said that reducing the carbon footprint of cryptocurrency is important to them, and would make them more inclined to use it.
For the 25 to 34 and 35 to 44 age groups, the figure rose to 49 and 39 per cent respectively.
Asked about non-fungible tokens (NFTs), 38 per cent of respondents said they would be ‘excited’ to use them if they were sustainable. Just over half of people aged between 35 and 44 were excited by the prospect of sustainable NFTs.
Kolodny commented: “We expected to detect concern over crypto’s carbon footprint per transaction, and enthusiasm for reducing it — but not to the massive levels we found. We were pleasantly surprised that people seem to understand the environmental challenge of crypto. StarkNet represents one of the most important steps so far on the road to making blockchain more sustainable.
“Our scaling tech massively reduces the electricity use per transaction, and will complement other initiatives that are underway to address crypto’s overall environmental impact. The power normally used to mint a single NFT can cover the minting of around 12,000 via StarkNet.”