Cryptocurrencies are no longer just a niche interest; they've captured the attention of the world. According to a recent survey, an impressive 92% globally have tuned into the buzz around digital currencies. However, the enthusiasm isn't spread evenly across the globe. While certain regions exhibit caution, others, especially in Southeast Asia, South America, and Africa, see crypto as a beacon of financial opportunity. In countries facing economic challenges, crypto often becomes a safeguard against financial unpredictability.
From April 26th to May 18th, 2023, Consensys, in collaboration with YouGov embarked on a journey to uncover the pulse of global sentiments surrounding cryptocurrencies and Web3. This monumental global survey on crypto and web3, spanning 15 countries and engaging 15,158 individuals aged 18-65, has unearthed insights that defy conventional expectations. Brace yourself for a jaw-dropping revelation.
Nigeria emerges as the most crypto-aware country in the world
According to the survey, the figures on Nigeria's crypto awareness are compelling as a remarkable 99% of respondents indicated their awareness of cryptocurrencies. Moreover, 70% of respondents clearly understood the fundamental concept of blockchain technology, elevating Nigeria's place on the global scene.
In terms of crypto ownership, Nigeria is at the forefront, on par with countries like the USA. This becomes even more interesting when you factor in that the Central Bank of Nigeria in February 2021, declared that cryptocurrency transactions are in direct violation of existing laws. The central bank also prohibited commercial banks from engaging in cryptocurrency dealings and issued warnings about the risks associated with crypto trading.
Yet, a significant 90% of Nigerian respondents have expressed plans to invest in cryptocurrencies over the next 12 months, reflecting their confidence in its potential. In addition, 65% of respondents view cryptocurrencies as a safeguard against financial decline and hyperinflation. This contrasts with Europe and Japan, where a larger portion seems hesitant about future investments in cryptocurrencies.
The broader sentiment in Nigeria towards crypto is overwhelmingly positive. More than half link it to the future of money, and 48% view it as central to digital ownership in the future. Concerns of speculation or scams are relatively low, at 9% and 6% respectively. Notably, 90% believe cryptocurrencies enhance the digital landscape, and an emphatic 87% feel they should have ownership rights to their online creations.
How does the rest of the world stack up?
In the United States, awareness of cryptocurrencies is high but not uniformly enthusiastic as 50% of respondents claimed to understand what cryptocurrencies are, while 42% have heard of them but lack a clear understanding. Furthermore, half of Americans have previously owned or currently own cryptocurrencies, and 43% plan to invest within the next year.
Similarly, in Germany, almost 90% of people have heard of cryptocurrencies, but only 40% understand them. Investment rates are lower, with only 14% having previously owned and 16% currently owning cryptocurrencies. The United Kingdom offers another perspective. Many Britons hold negative associations with cryptocurrency, but they also see it as an alternative to traditional finance - which is great although the majority feel that heavy regulation is necessary.
In contrast, South Africa shows tremendous promise for cryptocurrencies as a staggering 98% of its population is aware of them, and the general sentiment is very positive, associating cryptocurrencies with the future of money and digital ownership. Most South Africans believe in some form of regulation, split between wanting heavy regulation and a more pro-investment approach, and a remarkable 80% are willing to invest.
Moving from the Global North to the Global South, Nigeria leads the way with 99% awareness and 70% understanding of the underlying blockchain technology as well as an impressive 90% willingness to invest in it as a hedge against financial instability.
The attitudes in Nigeria, South Africa, and even in parts of the developed world such as the U.S. and Germany, paint a complex picture of global crypto adoption. While countries like the U.S. and Germany are cautious, with concerns revolving around market volatility and scams, nations like Nigeria and South Africa see cryptocurrencies more as a financial opportunity and safeguard.
For a comprehensive exploration of the survey's insights and a nuanced understanding of global perspectives on crypto, refer to the Consensys and YouGov Global Survey on Crypto and Web3.