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Almost 50% Of Kiwis Consider Crypto As A Possible Alternative To The ‘Quarter Acre Dream’

New research by global consumer insights company Protocol Theory has uncovered rising interest in crypto as Kiwis seek alternatives to home ownership to build financial freedom. 

Undertaken in partnership with the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Easy Crypto, the research set out to profile the next wave of crypto adopters. The findings place New Zealanders in the ‘early adopter’ category of crypto uptake; although blockchain and Web3 innovators have their work cut out for them to both educate and win user trust. 

Findings include:

Half of NZers are either active crypto investors or considerers: Close to 50% of New Zealanders own, have owned or are considering future investment into crypto. 

Rising discontent with the ‘status quo’: 1 in 3 investors report that crypto’s appeal includes that banks and companies profit less; with many believing that governments and banks are the top two things standing between them and financial freedom.

Crypto is a more accessible investment: Just 16% of respondents said they could invest a small amount in real estate over time, compared to almost 60% who believe they could do the same in crypto.

The cross-generational appeal of crypto 

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“For many Kiwis, the dream of home ownership is at odds with their current economic reality. At the same time, crypto is entering the mainstream - including institutional investment – and our mission is to leave no one behind. The main goal of our research was to understand the next wave of crypto adopters and what we need to do to support them to make informed and smarter investment decisions,” explains Janine Grainger, Co-Founder and CEO of Easy Crypto.

She adds: “With the 1/4 acre dream becoming progressively challenging for younger folk - unless they have intergenerational wealth - and GenXers and Boomers looking to supercharge their retirement in an increasingly challenging economic environment, crypto has undeniable cross-generational appeal.” 

In line with this, just 16% of respondents said they could invest a small amount in real estate over time, compared to almost 60% who believe they could do the same in crypto. What’s more,  there was a rising willingness to consider alternative assets, with only 20% of those surveyed believing that the only safe investments are those insured by the government; signalling increased consideration of  alternative assets to grow their wealth. 

Tellingly, 26% of Kiwis agree that crypto enables greater equality for all - compared to just 23% for property investments.

Adoption at an all-time high

The survey results revealed some of the highest adoption figures yet, with 14% of the over 1000 respondents from the general adult population reporting that they either own or have owned crypto (compared to 10% reported by the FMA in 2022). “These rates rise to 45% - almost half of Kiwis - when we also factor in those ‘considering future investment’. What’s more, once people have adopted the asset class, very few abandon it,” says Janine.

And while it’s no surprise that 72% of investors believe real estate delivers high returns; circa 40% of investors also agree that crypto delivers high returns. 

This puts NZ in the ‘early adopter’ category of the crypto adoption continuum meaning that Kiwis quickly see its potential and we’re happy to jump in and test it out. 

But we’re still facing significant barriers 

But although digital currency ‘fixes’ a lot of challenges inherent in traditional finance, including high transaction fees, centralised control, slow cross-border transfers and limited accessibility; there are very real issues that make it difficult for first-time users to invest in or use crypto.

“Crypto offers a low capital, low cost investment, but there are significant gaps between investment ‘intent’ and ‘action’, i.e. between wanting to invest, and actually investing,” explained Janine.

72% of those who haven’t invested yet find doing so confusing and admitted they “Do not know where to start”. Their concerns included that information is difficult to understand (67%); and they don’t know who to ask for help (67%). Amongst investors, barriers to entry were the same as those faced by the general population.

Alongside the need for clarity, 50% of respondents supported the need for regulation governing ‘how’ crypto providers conduct themselves (i.e. ethical, trustworthy operations) to enable wholesale participation.

Education and trust need to become our focus

“While the consensus around confusion is disappointing, the findings are a clear call for the crypto industry to do a lot better when it comes to engaging with both existing and future investors,” says Janine who believes that the trifecta that will drive adoption is investor motivation, opportunity and having a voice of trust.

“There is clear intent to invest and uptake is growing. What’s more, investors are disillusioned with current solutions and looking for alternatives. For them to close the value-action gap between identifying crypto as a way to create a better future for themselves - and acting on this belief - we need to ensure a much easier ‘onramp’,” believes Janine. 

Now is the time for products that address the biggest barriers to crypto adoption – volatility and complexity. These include stablecoins that offer Kiwis a stable entry into the digital marketplace, marrying the trustworthiness of underlying traditional assets with all the benefits of blockchain; and user-friendly wallets that are suited to ‘beginners’.

In addition, it’s time to prioritise ‘crypto for humans’, focusing our effort on a user-centred approach that simplifies all aspects of the crypto experience to accelerate adoption.

Crypto projects and platforms need to prioritise communication in simple-to-understand, plain language and exchanges need to prioritise information and tools to help users make better decisions around crypto.

What’s more, the promise of transcending disproportionate banking profit and government policies isn’t enough. Investors want the industry to ‘level up’ in terms of providing a safe, secure investment environment.

“Exchanges should provide enhanced security that includes blockchain analytics and refuse to take a user’s money when they suspect users are being taken advantage of or scammed.Crypto exchanges who take custody of investor funds are simply replacing centralised control with another form of centralised control. At the heart of the non-custodial exchange model in which users purchase crypto to be sent to their own wallet lies a revolutionary approach that emphasises user autonomy and security in which each user becomes their own ‘bank’ and manages their own crypto,” explains Janine.

Janine is a member of the Digital Trust Working Group formed in 2023 to advise APEC; and was invited to join the V20 virtual asset summit, as part of the 2022 G20. What’s more, Easy Crypto’s website is packed with information and tools to help users make better decisions around crypto.  With enhanced security that includes blockchain analytics, the exchange regularly refuses to take a user’s money when it suspects users are being taken advantage of or scammed. 

A new era of Defi

To usher in a new era of Defi, our focus must move beyond talking about crypto’s potential. The next generation of investors is already convinced and are researching their options.

The pathway to mass adoption hinges on a user-centric approach that demystifies the crypto experience to prioritise straightforward, jargon-free communication and equips users with the necessary tools and resources to make informed decisions. The industry must also elevate its security standards to provide a safe and trustworthy environment for investors including robust security measures that ensure users are protected and their investments are secure.

“Only by addressing these critical areas can the industry achieve the ‘trifecta’ needed for action,” concludes Janine.

© Scoop Media

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