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Cryptocurrency Adoption Rates in the US: The US Continues To Lead in BTC Trading Volume

Last updated 25th May 2022
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The perception of cryptocurrency as an investment has significantly shifted over the last few years in the US. More people are now aware of crypto investment and trading, with adoption rates increasing annually.

Popular cryptocurrencies among Americans include Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether, Shiba Inu, and Dogecoin. When Bitcoin prices climbed to an all-time high in the last quarter of 2021, the number of Americans investing in cryptos experienced exponential growth.

  • Currently, the US leads in BTC trading volume globally at about $1.5 billion. About 23.3 million Americans own BTC. Large institutional investors and professional traders also play a significant role in adoption.

  • Currently, about 16% of Americans have invested in or traded cryptocurrencies. According to data research firm, PEW. The ownership of cryptos in America doubled between 2018-2019. Most people owned either Bitcoin or Ethereum.

  • Data from crypto-research firm Chainalysis suggests that crypto adoption in the US stands at 14%. Out of the 154 countries in the survey, the US ranked 8th. In the previous survey, the US ranked 6th, showing a surge in crypto adoptions globally.

  • A majority of Americans own cryptos as a form of investment. Others, however, use it as a payment medium.

What Drives Adoption Rates in the US?

While Bitcoin still bears the lion's share of the market cap, cryptos like Dogecoin and Shiba Inu have stirred significant interest. Some of these projects invoke interest that significantly aids in adopting cryptos.

The adoption of cryptos is primarily driven by younger Americans looking for high-yielding forms of investments. Other factors include:

  • Crypto-friendly laws in a majority of the states

  • A wide variety of ways to acquire cryptos such as exchanges and brokers

  • Acceptance of cryptos as a medium of payment by many merchants

  • Fear of missing out

  • Adoption of cryptocurrency by renowned companies such as Paypal and Tesla

  • Involvement of celebrities such as the Tesla CEO Elon Musk

The US is a hotspot for cryptos-related companies. Major firms and startups have sprung up, including crypto providers like Coinbase and Kraken, enabling Americans to buy cryptos quickly.

Some states have also enacted laws that favor the use of cryptos, driving up adoption rates. For instance, Arizona lawmakers have proposed allowing tax payments using crypto.

US Cryptocurrency Adoption by Gender

A 2021 Finder survey also discovered that out of those who owned cryptos in the US, 63% were men compared to 37% of women. The number of men owning crypto in the US is therefore almost double that of women.

The growth of the industry and the admission of cryptos as a form of investment are likely to accelerate adoption rates across both genders.

(Source: 2021 Finder Survey)

Cryptocurrency Adoption by Age

According to the Invest in You survey by CNBC and Acorn by Momentive, young adults lead in crypto adoption. The survey shows that adoption rates between 15-34 years of age accounted for 15%.

On the other hand, only 11% of adults between the age of 35 - 65 traded or invested in cryptos. The numbers tumble to 4% for the population over 65 years old.

(Source: Invest in You survey by CNBC)

Another research firm PEW research indicates that three in ten Americans between 18-29 say they have used, owned, or invested in cryptocurrencies.

This affirms the notion that younger adults are more exposed to crypto and appear to be more risk-tolerant compared to the risk-averse older population, who prefer traditional investment options like stocks and bonds.

Popular Cryptocurrencies in the US

Bitcoin accounted for the largest share of cryptocurrencies owned by Americans. Approximately 23.3 million Americans have invested in Bitcoin. This accounts for almost half of the cryptocurrency owned in the US.

America leads in the ownership of Dogecoin globally. The interest behind this meme coin was initially spurred on by its enthusiastic community and interest from certain celebrities.

Despite its popularity, Dogecoin only ranks third in the US. According to a survey by Finder, Ethereum was the second most popular crypto asset.

Other high-ranking cryptocurrencies include Solana, Shiba Inu, Binance Coin, and Cardano.

(Source: 2021 Finder Survey)

Crypto Statistics by State

According to a recent survey by crypto exchange Coinbase, 58% of Americans are aware of cryptocurrencies.

The report ranks the top 10 states by crypto ownership and average value. Here is a breakdown of the report:

Top 10 States by Crypto Ownership

  1. California

  2. New Jersey

  3. Washington

  4. New York

  5. Colorado

  6. Utah

  7. Florida

  8. Alaska

  9. Nevada

  10. Massachusetts

(Source: Coinbase Research)

Top 10 states by crypto value

  1. Delaware

  2. California

  3. Nevada

  4. New York

  5. Washington

  6. Wyoming

  7. Connecticut

  8. Illinois

  9. Massachusetts

  10. New Hampshire

What’s Next for Crypto Uptake in the US?

There is no doubt that cryptocurrencies are gaining in popularity in America. There is an overall increased awareness, and individual states are enacting proactive legislation to allow crypto adoption.

According to a recent study by Ascent, over half the population who own crypto bought it in the last 12 months. The study also found that about 20% of those who’ve never held crypto will likely buy it in 2022. It is worth noting that the study found out that 29% of the respondents have never heard about cryptocurrency.

On a global scale, the US still lags in crypto adoption per person compared to emerging economies such as Vietnam and India. There are several reasons why this is the case, key among them the mistrust of cryptocurrency and availability of other traditional investment options in the US.

With the continued proliferation of crypto across every important aspect of our lives, adoption rates are expected to increase annually. Many businesses now accept cryptocurrencies as a payment medium in exchange for goods and services.

2022 promises to be an exciting year for cryptocurrencies in America, with developers and industry players churning out new crypto projects daily while lawmakers struggle to regulate the crypto industry.)

Stephen Ngari

Stephen Ngari

Stephen is a seasoned crypto and fintech specialist with industry experience. Having worked in tech, helping people send money globally and rollout solutions, he understands the impact that tech like blockchain brings to real world issues. He is passionate about crypto, writing and basketball.