Thoughts on the youth’s importance to crypto

Among the hype of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies I’ve often fallen back on the question of what the future of money may be like in 10 or even 20 years. While early cypherpunks, blockchain advocates, and now financial institutions are in large part dictating crypto price and volatility, future investors will ultimately decide the long-term fate of these speculative assets. Below are a few semi-organized thoughts on digital money’s early impact on the youth today and implications for the future.

^ Microventures recently released an interesting synopsis of millennials declining investment and interest in retirement funds, citing barriers such as crippling student debt, financial literacy, and overall ‘intimidation’ of the stock market. Nobody is surprised these factors have limited the younger generation’s chance to invest in traditionally safe financial instruments but we often hear this generation’s interest in Bitcoin. Why is this speculative and volatile option viewed as safer to many of them so early?

^ Consider millennials today where use of credit cards and digital payment services like Venmo are more frequent then the traditional trip to the ATM. Born into more technology than those before them, they are comfortable and even sometimes responsible transacting money at such a young age. Do we expect this trend to reverse? Probably not. As the millennials of today become parents of tomorrow their kids too will be born into an increasingly cashless system. “The majority of Millennials (83%) are open to a broader approach to investing, including alternative strategies. This includes cryptocurrencies, as 30% of Millennials report preferring to invest $1,000 in Bitcoin as opposed to $1,000 in government bonds or stocks.” (Microventures) Wow. Reckless youth thinking? Perhaps. A form of currency the youth can identify with though? Bingo.

^ Bitcoin is natively digital and built with principles of decentralization — a concept that many see as the key to trust among e-commerce and banking. Sprinkle in the attributes of provable custodial ownership (and maybe the dream it disrupts the financial markets) and it is not hard to see an attraction to the cash alternative. We should expect those growing up in a technology-influenced environment to value digital assets more than generations before them. The sky-high popularity of video games and in-game collectibles point at this upward trend. Never before have intangible digital goods like an avatar costume or virtual weapon been worth so much but also easier to exchange for fiat currency, cryptocurrency, or other in-game items.

^ Nobody can predict the future role of cryptocurrency but the younger generation’s growing comfort with a cashless system could be disruptive. Happy to hear others’ thoughts and opinions on the topic and keep the conversation going on Twitter.