What Makes Blockchain So Attractive in the Eyes of Millennials?
This is not pure speculation anymore. Data shows that people born between the years 1980 and 2000 (what we call ‘millennials’ or ‘generation Y’) are much more into cryptocurrency — not just as a concept or investment venue, but also out of a passion for understanding and even mastering it, just like an art. Surveys conducted in the past few years have all reached the same conclusion — millennials tend to be twice as familiar with cryptocurrencies as their ‘generation X’ counterparts are, and even three times as familiar, compared to ‘baby boomers’.
Let me take these assumptions and theories even one step further. I truly believe that blockchain was not only turned into a big thing by millennials — it was created for them. This generation has repeatedly claimed they favour crypto assets over other venues, such as gold, real estate, and even government bonds. Let’s break it down into details.
Step 1: millennials defined
What makes this generation different from its predecessors? The way I see it, there are two main factors to consider. First of all, we’re talking about people who are much more tech-driven than previous generations. Don’t forget that they grew up with the internet at their hands (and when I say ‘they’, I genuinely mean ‘we’. I am part of this generation, I confess). They’ve developed their skills and education in sync with technology development — from the big Macintosh computers to the Apple watches. Oh, and let’s not forget their passion for gadgets, whether it is online or offline.
Furthermore, these people have had their share of financial disappointments. Remember the housing (subprime) bubble bursting about 13 years ago? I think its effect on this generation was even more psychological than financial. People my age have minimal trust in the banking system and its centralization. They are looking for different ways to make and keep their money, and the faster, the better.
Step 2: millennials and money
It’s not only about how millennials ‘walk and talk’; it’s mainly about how they handle themselves financially. Here, there is such a significant difference between them and the ‘gen-x’s’. You probably won’t find a millennial standing in line at the bank and waiting for services — and if you do, they will be very unhappy about it because they are used to doing everything through mobile banking, preferably the bank’s app or website. They are very aware of their online financial behaviour, meaning they are less prone to be victims of cyber theft or any phishing scam.
On the other hand, they are much more reluctant to commit themselves to a business, service or financial institution. Today’s banks know (or should know) that if they don’t present an offer that is attractive enough, whether financially or technologically, a millennial will not think twice before checking other options. Yes, that means that if a bank’s app keeps jamming and does not offer enough possibilities, they will see what the competition has to offer.
Step 3: millennials and Blockchain
As you can see, millennials are not very fond of traditional, centralized banking — especially if it can’t keep up with their pace. They are also very informed about current events, so they are very picky about whose advice they take (especially regarding older people). The path from here to alternative financial options such as crypto, hence, is pretty much paved. Millennials are very intuitive about the digital sphere, all the way back from the days they used to download music illegally. They prefer to spend their free time online creating and generating stuff (music, podcasts, content, etc.) rather than playing Solitaire or Minesweeper.
And the numbers don’t lie here. The younger the investor is, the less likely he is to invest large sums of money in traditional venues, such as stocks, bonds, indices, etc. Remember that their trust in this system is shallow, so they will not put all of their eggs in one basket — probably not even a significant fraction of them.
When it comes to ‘unorthodox’ investments which challenge the system, on the other hand, they are much more active. This is true about crypto and other, newer forms of investment, such as crowdfunding or cooperative economy ideas. When you know the digital sphere and the drive to exploit it, you become very friendly with concepts such as blockchain.
If the picture painted here seems pretty to you, I need to remind you that there’s a downside to this kind of life. We’ve all witnessed the crypto market taking a plunge in the past few months, and anyone who claims they can tell you exactly when Bitcoin is set to recuperate is probably being dishonest. That’s where the typical millennial’s financial ‘impatience’ can turn from an advantage to liability and where mistrust in one financial concept could turn into too much trust in another.