Millennials Are Driving Digital Assets Adoption Forwards

June 8, 2021

Millennials are especially interested in digital assets and are keen to learn more about them, according to Mastercard.

40 per cent of people are planning to use digital assets in the coming year, according to Mastercard's New Payments Index. In particular, 67 per cent of millennials said they were more likely to use digital assets now compared to a year ago. Of the millennials surveyed, 77 per cent were keen to learn more about digital assets and 75 per cent said they would use them if they better understood them.

The survey released last month also found that the popularity of cash alternatives was growing and the COVID-19 pandemic has led to consumers using new payment methods they may not have otherwise considered.

Digital assets part of growing digital banking trend

Mastercard’s online poll revealed that 93 percent of respondents are considering using at least one new payment mechanism in the upcoming year—such as digital assets, biometrics, contactless payments, and QR codes. People are learning about the benefits of these emerging payments—which are now finding their way into the conventional cashless system—and familiarizing themselves with them. The survey concluded that 71 percent of people expect to use less cash going forwards and that they perceive new payment methods to be cleaner (76 per cent) and more convenient (71 per cent). 

Indeed, Kurt Kumar VP Marketing and Business Development at the digital assets payments processing company Rocketfuel Blockchain, explains that: “Millennials are growing natively with Web 2.0—that is, mobile—and Web 3.0 (digital assets) technology. They intuitively understand digital wallets and treasure chests, which are part of many games younger millennials play.”

Millennials own more digital assets than other generations

A recent study by Piplsay found that 49 per cent of the millennials polled own digital assets, compared to 38 per cent of Gen Xers and 13 per cent of GenZs. Millennials are also more likely to adopt digital assets as a payment method, with 53 per cent saying they are “very likely” to use them to purchase products or services, compared to 40 per cent of GenX polled, and only 7 per cent of GenZ.

This could be due to millennials seeing digital assets as a long-term investment opportunity that requires comparatively less effort. Millennials may also see digital assets as a means to break away from traditional financial structures and investment approaches. Furthermore, they’re keen to find ways to spend their digital assets in everyday transactions once they’re familiar and comfortable with them.

Indeed, a recent survey by financial group Charles Schwab found that 51 per cent of young investors in the UK own or hold digital assets—double the 25 per cent who buy or hold equities. Interestingly, a report by the UK regulator FCA found that new digital asset investors in the last year “tend to skew more towards being female, under 40 and from a BAME background.” The FCA report also highlights how younger generations are learning more from non-traditional sources about alternative investing than through traditional learning, such as at school and university.

Mastercard and other major vendors adding validity to digital assets

Beginning this year, Mastercard will have an open network for customers to pay and receive digital asset payments. When Mastercard mentioned its collaborative card partner program, which makes it easier for consumers to hold and activate digital assets, this bolstered its validity for many consumers. Gradually, digital assets and their underlying technology are maturing to the point that they are robust enough to integrate with existing financial systems, and consumers are increasingly comfortable adopting them for investments and payments.

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