Introduction to the survey

This first-ever report with a global scope and focus on crypto retail users examines data from over 61,000 crypto users around the world, shedding light on the motivations, behaviors, and preferences of this growing audience.

According to the findings, there is near-unanimous confidence in cryptocurrencies (97%) amongst users. More than half (52%) do not consider crypto investing as a hobby, but instead as a means of income; for 15% of users, crypto is considered their primary source of income. Meanwhile, the top three reasons users invest in crypto are (1) to own crypto as part of a long-term investment strategy (55%), (2) a distrust of the current financial system (38%), and (3) short-term trading opportunities (31%).

Retail investment in cryptocurrencies is growing around the world. As cryptocurrencies have become more accessible via a wide array of channels – Paypal, LocalBitcoins, Grayscale, Binance, and others – it is increasingly important to understand the dominant user-profiles and their corresponding preferences. Aside from anecdotal reports, there has not been an objective investigation into the motivations, behaviors, and preferences of these growing audiences from a global scope.

That’s why we created the Global Crypto User Index.

Its goal was to explore questions surrounding the respondent’s ..
  • .. demographics

  • .. attitude

  • .. financial involvement

  • .. adoption

  • .. ideology.

Other key insights from the report include:
  • Bitcoin continues to reign: BTC, which is held by 65% of users who own any crypto, continues to be the most popular cryptocurrency. 30% of BTC owners allocate 1-20% of their crypto portfolio to bitcoin.

  • Top uses for cryptocurrencies: even though most cryptos are hodled (39%), users also use their digital assets for staking & lending (22%), and payments (11%). And while using crypto as a medium of exchange may not be perceived as the most important use-case (21%), actual usage (38%) suggests that crypto is taking the function of money more than users anticipate.

  • Exchanges are the most popular place to store crypto: 60% of users keep their digital assets within exchanges. Users cite security (28%), followed by UI/UX (25%), and available trading pairs (23%) as the most important factors when choosing an exchange platform. **

  • Users tend to use disposable funds (63%) to buy crypto. Users in the Netherlands are least likely to purchase crypto with borrowed capital (3%), while users in China are most likely (23%).

  • DeFi is picking up speed: 66% of all users said that they are using DeFi applications. DeFi appears to be most popular in Southeast Asia, where more than 54% of surveyed users reported using decentralized applications (dApps).

  • Users believe in the freedom of money: a lower institutional trust correlates with higher confidence in crypto: 17 out of 20 markets represented have less than 50% trust in the local institutions.

Distribution of the survey

The survey was translated into eight different languages (English, Spanish, Russian, Turkish, Chinese, Vietnamese, German, Dutch) and disseminated via a web-based questionnaire for a global audience, along with a dedicated survey for the Chinese market.

The respectively used channels included:

  • Social networks (e.g., Twitter, Telegram, Kakaotalk, VK, WeChat)

  • Reddit forums

  • Direct emails to users

  • Banners on and CoinMarketCap.

Methodology of the survey

All responses were regionally clustered into countries and markets. Some countries might appear significantly over-represented (i.e., Turkey), whereas other countries may appear under-represented (i.e., Japan). Importantly, the lack of a clear sample frame is an inherent problem of the crypto ecosystem. It describes the entire population, of which some individuals are being polled. As such, a sample frame is always required to see how representative the polled group is and can be used to ensure external validity of the survey research results. The sample frame can be deduced by using theoretically available proxy data, such as:

  • On-chain analytics

  • Previous surveys

  • Publicly reported KYC information

  • Internal user data

  • Google Analytics’ traffic.

By leveraging additional data that is external to the survey data, it was possible to balance the survey population. Such a “post-stratification” ensures that insights are not only valid for the questioned sample, but their broader sample frame: the entire population of active crypto users.

Based on this understanding, all countries were grouped into 20 markets. The market grouping may, at times, appear arbitrary, but was ..

  • .. always informed by respectively available sample size,

  • .. as local as possible, but as global as required,

  • .. further informed by the need for two types of respondents.