Neither the author, Tim Fries, nor this website, The Tokenist, provide financial advice. Please consult our website policy prior to making financial decisions.
With another ATH price reached, Bitcoin finds itself in the service of both the wealthy and the less fortunate. In large part, we can thank millennials for being persistent enough to drive Bitcoin to this point. For this reason, let’s examine the underlying causes spurring the millennial generation to become Bitcoin evangelists.
Millennials are the Driving Force Behind Bitcoin’s Growth
There are few as important factors in product adoption as an age group. Correspondingly, Bitcoin owes much of its rapid market penetration and growth to its target audience – Millenials. Representing people born between 1980 and 1996, millennials are the largest generation in the United States, accounting for about 72 million people.
When it comes to Bitcoin adoption, the importance of age groups couldn’t be overstated. This was one of the most striking insights coming from The Tokenist’s own comparative Bitcoin adoption survey. In 2020, even though the majority of survey respondents were familiar with Bitcoin – 78% of millennials and 61% of total respondents – only 4% of respondents over the age of 65 expressed willingness to actually buy Bitcoin.
In contrast, about half of millennials reported their eagerness to tap into the cryptocurrency ecosystem via Bitcoin. Moreover, from the same survey, millennials increased their trust in Bitcoin over traditional banking institutions by 24%. Almost uniformly – at 93% – those aged over 65 would rather place their trust in the big banks.
Crippled Social Mobility
It’s not exactly clear why the older demographic has stubbornly—and consistently—strayed away from Bitcoin. When people reach a certain age, the willingness to engage in novelty concepts and habits drastically decreases. In contrast, millennials have been immersed in the digital world from their teenage years.
One could easily conclude that millennial digital immersion perfectly complements Bitcoin adoption. However, this is only part of the equation. Unfortunately, the platitude of the American dream, expressed in the oft-abused phrase, “pull yourself up by your bootstraps”, has become laughable.
Burdened by skyrocketing student debt, job prospects lessened by the relentless influx of foreign workers, corporations encouraging gig economy…are just some of the factors that decreased social mobility of younger generations. Even before the pandemic-induced economic devastation, 47% of young adults aged 18-29 lived with their parents. Since July, this has increased to over half – 52%.
Digital Habituation + Economic Woes = Conservative Mindset Aligned with Bitcoin
Seeing their prospects diverge from their parents’ lifestyle, millennials have grown to nurture a conservative financial mindset. While suprising to many, millennials tend to save early, from 24 years old, and express anxiety if they don’t put enough money in the bank. Meanwhile, as younger generations were ground into disposable economic units, Bitcoin grew in strength.
Bitcoin, as a deflationary cryptocurrency outside the Fed’s money supply shenanigans, survived numerous crypto exchange hacks, media and legislative attacks throughout 2020—ultimately becoming the safe-haven asset for the internet generations.
As a result, when you are surrounded by institutions that have demonstrated their disinterest in your wellbeing, millennials can easily trust a proven asset that no centralized entity controls. In the new world where lockdowns caused the greatest transfer of wealth in history, Bitcoin has become the millennials’ light in the darkness—shining as digital gold.
So far, the Stock/Flow model is proving itself correct. Do you think we are likely to see Bitcoin achieving the $100k price range this year, in the absence of disrupting world events? Let us know in the comments below.
Tim Fries is the cofounder of The Tokenist. He has a B. Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Tim served as a Senior Associate on the investment team at RW Baird's US Private Equity division, and is also the co-founder of Protective Technologies Capital, an investment firms specializing in sensing, protection and control solutions.