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Crypto products are in news stories and in a lot of advertising. But what do Canadians really know about crypto investments and how they work and how they are regulated? The OSC’s Crypto Asset Survey provides useful insights about the crypto ownership and knowledge of Canadians.
Crypto Assets 2022 found 13% of people surveyed currently own crypto assets or crypto funds. The survey provides a profile of these crypto owners, their reasons for purchasing crypto assets or crypto funds, the role of financial advice, impact of advertising, and the experience of crypto owners with crypto trading platforms. The survey also gives insights about the attitudes of people who have not invested in crypto.
The survey included 2,185 Canadians from the general population. And it included an oversampling of 175 of crypto owners to ensure at least 500 crypto owners were included. It was conducted from April 26 to May 10, 2022.
Most people surveyed had not owned crypto asset or funds (78%).
The 13% who currently owned crypto were invested in:
- Crypto asset only ownership: 6%
- Crypto asset and fund ownership: 6%
- Crypto fund only ownership: 2%
And 8% of respondents previously owned either crypto assets or funds.
Half of Canadians surveyed could accurately define crypto assets. But most Canadians did not have a working knowledge of the practical, legal and regulatory dimensions of crypto assets. The average crypto asset knowledge score was just 37%.
Six questions assessed Canadians’ knowledge of crypto assets. Fewer than one quarter answered four or more questions correctly. Only 1% were able to answer all six knowledge questions correctly.
Role of crypto assets now and in the future
Crypto assets were believed to play a key role in the financial system by 38% of those surveyed. Holding this belief was highly correlated with the likelihood an individual would buy crypto assets in the next 12 months. However, almost half of the Canadians surveyed do not plan to buy crypto assets in that same time frame.
Why people invest in crypto
Crypto buyers’ reasons for purchasing included:
- wanting to make more money compared to a traditional savings account.
- believing in the value of the technology.
- wanting a speculative investment or gamble.
- wanting to diversify their portfolio.
Profile of crypto owners
There were interesting insights about 13% of people surveyed who currently own crypto assets or crypto funds. Crypto owners:
- were more likely to be investors who own investment funds, stocks and other types of securities.
- had higher general financial literacy and knowledge about crypto compared to non-crypto asset buyers.
- were more aggressive in their approached to investing, and more comfortable with risk than non-crypto investors.
- were also more likely to have been targeted by crypto advertising and feel it motivated them to purchase.
The OSC study also found crypto asset owners were also more likely to be:
- male (67%) between the ages of 24-44 (59%)
- more formally educated (49% have an undergraduate degree or higher)
- employed full-time (67%) with a somewhat higher income (37%: $100k+ annually)
Crypto asset investors information sources
Before purchasing, crypto asset owners relied on sources of information that included:
- word of mouth (41%).
- posts by social media influencers (21%)
- consulting with an expert in blockchain technology (20%)
- relying on their financial advisor (15%). Almost three quarters (74%) of those who own crypto assets weren’t recommended to buy them by their financial advisor and most never even discussed the option.
Awareness of crypto advertising and offers
About two-thirds (65%) survey respondents recalled seeing advertising for crypto investments but many (46%) did not think ads had an impact on their behaviour. However, nearly four out of ten people (38%) said they were more willing to purchase crypto as a result of seeing an ad. Crypto owners were more likely to have been targeted by crypto advertising and to feel it motivated them to purchase.
Nearly one third of Canadians (32%) recalled seeing an ad by a well-known movie or television actor, sports person, celebrity or finfluencer encouraging them to buy or sell crypto assets through a specific crypto trading platform.
Crypto Assets 2022 gives insight into crypto ownership and beliefs. The OSC is closely monitoring developments the rise in crypto assets in Canada and around the world and their associated market volatility and implications.
In addition, the fast-paced rate of innovation has underlined the need to better understand Canadians’ experiences with crypto trading platforms, advertising and decentralized finance.
All investments have some level of risk, and crypto assets are no different. Some crypto assets come with very high levels of risk and the value and liquidity may be highly volatile or significantly change over time. Anyone selling investments or providing investment advice in Ontario, including crypto asset trading platforms, is generally required to comply with Ontario securities and derivatives law.
The OSC has a list of crypto asset trading platforms registered in Ontario to offer crypto products to investors. Investors should always check the registration of any person or business trying to sell them an investment or give them investment advice. Visit CheckBeforeYouInvest.ca.
Learn more about crypto assets at GetSmarterAboutCrypto.ca.