South Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia Outpace Europe in Crypto Awareness and Ownership: Survey

A survey commissioned by crypto firm Luno has found that the level of ownership and familiarity with cryptocurrencies was higher in Malaysia, Indonesia and South Africa compared to European markets.

The three emerging markets of Indonesia, Malaysia and South Africa enjoyed varying levels of cryptocurrency ownership at 40%, 39% and 29% respectively. The respective levels of familiarity were 63%, 57% and 69%, according to the study. In contrast, the best-performing European market in the survey was the Netherlands where cryptocurrency ownership was at 27% while the level of cryptocurrency familiarity was at 39%.

Other big economies in Europe such as France, Italy and Germany also performed poorly compared to the emerging markets of South Africa, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Higher Confidence in Emerging Markets

In Germany, the level of cryptocurrency familiarity was 49% while cryptocurrency ownership was at 9%. France fared slightly better with the level of cryptocurrency familiarity being 37% while cryptocurrency ownership was at 19%. In Italy, the level of cryptocurrency familiarity was 50% while the percentage of people who owned cryptocurrencies was 14%.

The survey respondents in Europe indicated that they lacked enough knowledge necessary to buy or use cryptocurrencies. South African, Indonesians and Malaysians, however, revealed that they had adequate information making them feel confident buying or using digital assets.

“In Europe people stated that they do not have enough knowledge (access to information) to feel sure about buying/using crypto while in South Africa, Indonesia and Malaysia wasn’t a big issue, people rather felt confident and stated to have access to enough information,” noted the survey which saw more than 1,000 respondents interviewed in each of the 10 countries it was conducted in.

Other European markets that were surveyed were Romania, Lithuania, Poland, the Republic of Ireland and the Netherlands.

Investment Products

The Luno study which focused to a great extent on South Africa found that the residents and citizens of the country viewed cryptocurrencies more as an investment vehicle rather than a means of exchange – 83% versus 23% who use it to make purchases online. Only 12% of South Africans use cryptocurrencies to make peer-to-peer money transfers to family and friends, per the study.

Familiarity with cryptocurrencies was highest in the western parts of South Africa at 71% while in the North and the East it was lower than the national average (69%) at 68% and 66% respectively.

There was also a gender split with more men than women indicating that they were ‘very familiar’ with cryptocurrencies – 27% versus 19%. The percentage of men who indicated that they were ‘quite familiar’ with cryptocurrencies was 42% compared to 39% of women.

Unsurprisingly, bitcoin was the most popular cryptocurrency in South Africa followed by Ethereum while Ripple and Dash were tied in the third position.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Last modified: March 4, 2021 3:07 PM

Mark Emem

I cover business and the stock market for CCN. Currently based out of Nairobi, Kenya. Email | Twitter |