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7% of Americans Hold Cryptocurrencies, Says Fed – is 40% Claim Just Crypto Industry Wishful Thinking?

Last Updated May 23, 2024 5:45 PM
Eddie Mitchell
Last Updated May 23, 2024 5:45 PM
Key Takeaways
  • The Federal Reserve estimates that 18 million American adults used crypto in 2023.
  • Michael Novogratz and Antony Scaramucci estimate there to 85 million crypto users in America.
  • Conflicting survey results may be the result of industry bias and low participation.

An “Economic Well-Being of U.S. Household in 2023” report published by the Federal Reserve has reported that cryptocurrency ownership in America may be significantly lower than anyone had imagined.

The May 2024 report  from the Fed estimates that 7% of American adults held or used cryptocurrency in 2023, which is down 3% from 2022. With other estimates reaching as high as 85 million, does the truth rest somewhere in the middle?

18 Million Crypto Owners?

The Fed’s survey, which had 11,488  participants, found that approximately 18 million American adults were using crypto in the U.S. throughout 2023.

It also found that 2% have used it to make purchases and only 1% use it to send money to family or friends.  Interestingly, one in four of those who did send crypto “indicated that at least one transfer” was international.

Other surveys  from 2021 show that at least 21% of Americans owned cryptocurrencies, suggesting that ownership has fallen by 14% over the last three years if the Fed’s estimates are accurate.

Industry Estimates

Some of the most comprehensive studies combine findings from multiple studies and surveys in and outside the crypto industry. In particular, they estimate this number to be around 50 million .

Similar research from Triple-A, which compiled and weighted data from 16 reports , estimates U.S. crypto ownership to be 48 million.

In a conversation with CNBC, Galaxy Digital founder and CEO Michael Novogratz espoused that there were “[…]more crypto owners in America than dog owners,” – which would be over 65 million if true.

This was also stated by Antony Scaramucci, who claimed this figure to be 85 million , or approximately 25% of the population. But it’s worth noting that it is uncertain where either is getting this number from.

Survey Size Matters

A 2024 report  from Security.org,  found that up to 40% of American adults own crypto, up 10% from 2023’s findings. That would mean over 100 million Americans are currently holding cryptocurrencies, which is very bullish news.

However, the study was based on two internet surveys conducted by Security.org, both of which had small sample sizes of 1,001 and 504 participants. The smaller the sample size, the lower the accuracy of the results.

In 2022, JPMorgan estimated  some 15% of their 5 million checking account customers (600,000) had conducted transfers into crypto accounts. This is perhaps a better overview as it is hard data from a major institution with a huge sample size.

The Fed’s report had 11,488 respondents and took place within a relatively short time frame of only a few weeks. As ever, all survey results need to be taken with a pinch of salt and weighted against other comparable findings. In short, sample size matters.

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