America’s State of Crypto: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness to Economic Freedom
Over the last year, the world of cryptocurrencies has managed to successfully evolve and grow thanks to a greater desire for raising awareness and the emergence of newfound enthusiasm within the US as an investment market, with more people regarding blockchain technology as a remarkable new avenue and opportunity for them to engage in an ever more proletarianized financial system.
According to a report published by the San Francisco-based Cryptocurrency exchange – Coinbase, it highlights the growing level of interest that is taking hold within the United States with regards to crypto assets, taking a look at this emerging interest from a state by state level.
These are some of the major findings that Coinbase's dedicated research uncovered –
- As of this year – more than 58 percent of Americans have reportedly heard of Bitcoin
- Over the span of 2018, far more people have actually taken to Google to search for ‘Bitcoin.' More than had searched under phrases like ‘Royal Wedding', or even ‘Election Results.'
- As of these findings, more than 70 percent of the States within the US have actually enacted some form of legislation which directly addresses cryptocurrencies or blockchain technology.
The report finds that Crypto and blockchain technology are increasingly presenting themselves as critical elements for supporting local economies and even helping to revive floundering ones. The top 10 States within the USA for percentage of the population that hold some volume of crypto include: Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Utah and Washington State.
The amount that America gets interested in a topic is easily reflected in the kind of search habits presented on the likes of Google, and as we've seen with the likes of benchmarks like Kim Kardashian, who has demonstrated a remarkable amount of clout in the world of social media over the years. And when it comes to our own collective consciousness, she takes up a disproportionate share.
Since the beginning of 2019, for example, the amount of attention given to trends includes the likes of Bitcoin especially, which has managed to grab the imagination and interest of the online community for some time. According to users on Google, for example, there has been a far larger number of users searching under phrases such as Bitcoin more often than they have sought out information on Kim Kardashian. And while this managed to out-pace the Kardashians, it's a trend that doesn't look like its slowing down any time soon.
According to reports on Late-June, with prices rapidly climbing over this month, Google searches for Bitcoin have since managed to rocket upwards, surging upwards to be three times higher than those used in order to search for Kardashian. And it's not simply the fact that the Reality TV star is falling out of fashion, Americans have been typing and searching Bitcoin into Google more times over the last year than they have searched for any number of headline associated phrases, including the likes of ‘Royal wedding' to ‘election results.'
“Americans typed ‘Bitcoin’ into Google more times last year than they searched for a range of headline-making phrases, from “royal wedding” to “election results.”
Or to use another, more straight forward summary, Bitcoin is officially going mainstream within the United States – so even though Bitcoin is more than ten years old as of now (its birthday is officially January 2008), it has since managed to effectively capture the imagination and collective interests of people within the United States.
According to Coinbase, through its own comprehensive report regarding the awareness and overall adoption trends where they relate to Crypto assets within the United States, such as which states within the US have an increasing rate of participation and especially clocking the levels of enthusiasm where it's at its highest.
Within the study itself, there includes a vast array of research that was conducted by the third party research company – YouGov, done on behalf of Coinbase during December 2018 along with research that was derived from user activity on a macro-level through Coinbase's own database. While this is provided by Coinbase, it is reported in an anonymous and aggregated form only so as to ensure security.
This in-depth level of research also takes considerable time to look into the increasing number of states within the US where legislatures have since enacted a range of pro-active measures and regulations where they relate to Crypto assets as well as blockchain technology. These are often for a wider array of reasons, such as a direct response to local pressures and demand as well as growing public and investor interest in blockchain technology. Lastly, the research involves discussions with a range of current Coinbase clients and consumers – these client sand users include a range of people of varying ages, careers as well as locations from all across the country. The aim is to learn about who, where and why exactly they are interested in crypto assets.
The Increase in Awareness Amongst Users & Investors
When users are provided with a list of cryptocurrencies to choose from among a range of major and minor crypto assets, research from the Coinbase team revealed that more than 58 percent of these same Americans are more familiar with or have heard to some degree of Bitcoin. These same people have expressed a range of reasons for why they choose to actively to participate in Bitcoin investment. These range from an express desire to add a certain level of diversity to their existing investment portfolios, to have investments in it as a form of hedge, or simply because they felt some level of belief in it as a solution – regarding it as a transformative asset that can help to create a more secure and democratic medium of currency.
“The most appealing thing about crypto and Bitcoin to me is the idea of a worldwide currency — that it can cross borders without having to factor in exchange rates or high transfer fees or long delays,”
says Christopher, a 26-year-old small business owner in New Jersey.
“Say I want to move to another country someday? My cryptocurrency would automatically come with me. My whole journey is not a get-rich idea. I just really believe in crypto and want the technology to succeed.”
Going Across State Lines – Crypto Across States
When analysing trends across state lines throughout the United States – more than 37 percent of Americans were able to name Bitcoin when they were questioned about the nature of cryptocurrencies. They were able to do this even without being prompted by any kind of list of various crypto assets.
This exact same number has the tendency of increasing significantly within particular states within the US. For example, in Wisconsin and Utah, this amount jumps by more than 20 percent, meaning that 57 percent of people demonstrated unaided awareness of Bitcoin. With the likes of Colorado, Massachusetts and Wyoming have demonstrated number that was close behind Wisconsin and Utah.
Even with these substantial numbers of users across state lines that were able to point out Bitcoin unaided, there are still a number of places in the US where the awareness is relatively low. Even with that being the case, all this means is that there is an opportunity for these same people to get involved in the world of crypto assets.
“Cryptocurrency is right alongside artificial intelligence and nanotechnology as cutting-edge tech that has the potential to transform the way we live,” this is according to Todd, who is a 49 year old IT Supervisor based out of North Virginia. “And lots of regular people still have barely heard of it.”
With relation to the lower performing states within the United States, the top five states on collective literacy of cryptocurrencies include the likes of California, New Jersey, Washington State, New York and Colorado. This is according to Coinbase's own dedicated research. One of the interesting facts about this research was that Alaska actually ranks in 8th place on this same list of states with the highest percentages of crypto owners. But this also comes in lowest when it comes to unaided brand awareness for Bitcoin specifically – having only mustered 18 percent.
Among the several states that have managed to rank highly for crypto owners (California, New York and Washington State) also boast some of the biggest per capita holdings. This actually refers to the fact that they have a larger proportion of their populations who not only own a certain volume of crypto assets but also have much more substantial holdings.
Interestingly enough, there is yet another kind of category, which also boasts a range of states which hols a lower number, in terms of percentage of users holding crypto assets, but also a respectively higher per-capita ownership. In summary, there is a smaller nucleus of people who each hold a far greater proportion of cryptocurrencies. These are the same states with the most of these kinds of people, adjusted for relative populations – these include Delaware, Nevada and Wyoming.
What is Driving This Demand Exactly?
For a smaller number of people, there is a specific kind of investment opportunity that crypto assets present that makes for the primary motivating factor for them as investors.
“For people in my generation, I think it makes a lot more sense than stocks, bonds, inflated real estate, or other depreciating assets,”
this is according to a source known as Harrison, who works as a systems manager operating in Washington State.
“I have no plans to trade or sell right now — there are price points where I might sell some, to pay off debt or pay off my condo. But the goal is to try to get actual economic freedom.” Speaking from a similar position, Todd goes on to note that the crypto market itself opens up a whole new form of access to investments. “A lot of the best opportunities in the stock market are only available to accredited investors, which is a tiny part of the American population,”
“Cryptocurrency is available to everyone.”
While this is the motivating factor for a number of investors, others are participating in crypto as a means of obtaining a better level of education for themselves. Brenda is one of these people; a 30 year old CPA who currently resides in Puerto Rico. She actually only started practicing fairly recently and goes on to not that, in her field, there is relatively little training on the subject of cryptocurrencies. She, therefore, resided to purchase some in order to better understand it for her client base.
“I need to be able to explain this new technology, and the best way for me to understand it was to try it myself,” she says.”
The opportunity itself is also to experience this emerging and new technology as it is still in its emergent stages and, as a result, is a motivating factor within its own right.
“I’m just very interested in new technology,” This is according to the 35 year old Graphic Designer named Elena who lives in New York.
“I actually studied cryptography and computer science in college, so it was easy for me to understand. I’d love to find a job working on crypto or blockchain technology.”
According to another recent study conducted by Coinbase, more than 42 percent of the world's top 50 performing universities provide one or more courses in the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, with students from a wide range of disciplines demonstrating an increased level of interest in taking these courses.
A Deeper Look Into Legislation
As this residual level of interest continued to increase, states are increasingly looking to strike down and enact ever more accomodating kinds of legislation in order to address crypto assets and blockchain technology. As of reports from as recently as June 2019, more than 70 percent of States within the United States have enacted some kind of regulations or policies which take into account cryptocurrencies and / or blockchain technology.
In April is another example, with Ohio officially announcing that it would be accepting Bitcoin as a medium for paying taxes. “We’re trying to do our small part to … think creatively about how technology can make taxpayers’ lives easier.” This is according to the former Ohio State treasurer – Josh Mandel – who is also an ardent supporter of the effort to provide greater flexibility for Crypto assets. During an interview with Marketplace, the financially focused element of the news outlet NPR. Overstock.com, as one example, took advantage that this legislation represented, used Bitcoin in order to pay more than $35,000 worth of taxes in Bitcoin.
“We’re trying to do our small part to … think creatively about how technology can make taxpayers’ lives easier.”
It was earlier during the course of this year as well that Wyoming has also passed a wider range of more than 13 various laws which, among other things, officially recognized Crypto as a form of money. Further allowing banks to “provide custodial services for digital assets.” It was with these range of regulations, this mountain state sought to become one of the new legal homelands to banks that sought to offer a range of services such as asset management and other crypto based services to customers and businesses nationwide.
Since 2015 as well, New York State's financial regulatory agency has provided eighteen of what is now being more commonly known as BitLicenses to virtual currency companies that seek to provide brokerage services in a style similar to Wall Street trading or other deals on behalf of their clients.
Overall, just how interested is the American population in owning or buying cryptocurrencies in general? According to Coinbase's own research, this ranges from upwards of 15 percent of the American population, who are somewhat or very likely to buy Bitcoin, or some other medium of cryptocurrency in the foreseeable future. This same statistic climbs even higher with major league investors – with the asset management giant Fidelity Investments having announced that, back in May, that more than 22 percent of its client based institutional investors already owned some volume of digital assets, with more than half considering adding some or more crypto to their existing portfolios.
When it comes to the growth in underlying awareness, the initially discovered metric appears to be set to continue; YouTube searches for Bitcoin, for example, reached an all-time high level of searches over the course of this year. According to Christopher, who is one of the Coinbase customers based out of New Jersey, he goes on to explain just how he managed to find a range of clips from YouTube in order to formulate an effective PowerPoint presentation that he would use in order to more meticulously educate and explain Bitcoin to his own oblivious Baby-boomer generation father.
“I grabbed some video, grabbed some pictures, and broke it down in a way that he could understand,”
“Now he also has his own personal crypto, and whenever his coins go up, he’ll send me a screenshot. It’s something we really bond over.”