The Bank for International Settlements has published a research paper that supposedly disproves the hypothesis that crypto investors are "motivated by distrust of fiat currencies or regulated finance". Or, to put it another way, crypto investors don't hate banks after all. Those who oppose fiat currencies do look at crypto, but don't end up investing in digital assets after all, the study found.
What leads people down the crypto rabbit hole? Not fervent hatred of cash or Wall Street, researchers at the Bank for International Settlements, a consortium of central banks, found - but more prosaic things: keeping up with technology, being male and one's education.
In a new analysis published on Thursday, the BIS uses statistical analysis to refute the theory that crypto investors are "motivated by distrust of fiat currencies or regulated finance".
The analysts analysed data from a survey conducted by the U.S. Survey of Consumer Payment Choice, which asked 3,273 people to rate the security and convenience of cash, bank payments and online payments out of five.
It showed: people do trust cash, banks and online payment apps. The answers averaged between 2.7 and 4.
And while people who rated traditional banking technology lower tended to be more aware of cryptocurrencies, they are not also more likely to invest in them.
So, who is actually investing in "internet money"?
Who invests in bitcoin?
People who use technology: Debit card holders were 1.9 percentage points more likely to invest in cryptocurrencies, PayPal users were 2 percentage points more likely, and mobile payment apps were 3.5 percentage points more likely.
In other words, a large portion of Americans are slightly more likely to fall into the crypto hole than the rest. In the US last year, four-fifths used debit cards, a quarter used payment apps and almost 40% used PayPal. Men are also more likely to invest in crypto.
Education can indicate which cryptocurrencies someone invests in. XRP investors are the most educated, while Litecoiners are the least educated. Bitcoiners rank in the middle.
Once they invest in cryptocurrencies, coiners tend to converge on a "consistent trait," the researchers found: the desire to HODL. Owning crypto increases the likelihood of holding a coin in the next year by more than 50% on average.