Cryptocurrency isn’t just for the tech bros, bro.
Year13’s YouthSense research has found that 9% of Gen Zs have bought cryptocurrency – 16% of males and 4% of females.
Gathering on Reddit and Discord to discuss Bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital currencies, they analyse news, exchange advice and debate economic theories. With low barriers to entry, they’re side-hustling, becoming millionaires, losing their life savings, and having fun buying meme stocks like Dogecoin that started as a joke.
But that joke is now putting dollar signs in many people’s eyes as it rocket ships in value. So much so that one in six Australians now own cryptocurrency and it’s estimated that the global number of users has passed 100 million.
There are constant pushes and pushbacks. CoinJar and Mastercard recently launched Australia’s first crypto card. On the other side of the world, China banned crypto mining in some of its provinces wiping out more than half of the world’s bitcoin miners. Meanwhile, major businesses are creating their own digital currencies like the Diem Dollar backed by Facebook.
In an article for the Sydney Morning Herald this year, Barney Tan from the University of Sydney Business School said that crypto’s popularity is “fuelled by speculation, opportunism and a ‘bandwagon’ effect”.
What’s important to distinguish is that many Gen Zs also see it as an act of rebellion towards traditional financial institutions, a solution to achieving more wealth equality, and the way of the future that older people stuck in their ways just don’t understand.
On Reddit then high-schooler u/dustincrypto explained, “Bitcoin is more than just an investment, it’s liberty. It’s less power to centralization, more power to the people. Bitcoin allows you to be banked no matter your age, no matter how oppressed your country is, and no matter how much money you have. I have no doubt that Bitcoin will be here in five years, in 10 years, and I have no doubt I will one day be able to use Bitcoin to pay for my morning coffee.”
There’s the thrilling desire to get rich quick. But it’d be unfair to lump them all into that bracket because there are young people out there learning how to invest as part of a long-term savings strategy with safer, steadier gains too.
Indeed, Gen Zs are savvy largely due to the ability to access a wealth of information online, but Associate Professor Tan said that their possibly higher level of impressionability can lead to exploitation and manipulation. Crypto, after all, is a game that’s volatile and susceptible to fraud.
But many Gen Zs are holding onto their belief. All revolutions start with a belief after all.