Gemini, Checkout.com: Crypto Adoption On Rise Among Merchants, Consumers

April 8, 2022
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Crypto adoption is on the rise among both merchants and consumers, according to new research from two leading firms working in the crypto space.

Crypto adoption is on the rise among both merchants and consumers, according to new research from two leading firms working in the crypto space.

Checkout.com, a major back-end service used by crypto giants Coinbase, FTX and Crypto.com, has released a new report on crypto’s march towards the mainstream in the payments industry, highlighting the growing demand among consumers for the use of digital assets as a means of payment.

Based on a survey of 30,000 consumers and 3,000 merchants in 11 countries, the report found that 40 percent of 18-35 year olds plan on using cryptocurrency to pay for goods or services within the next year.

In last year’s report, that number was at 30 percent, reflecting strong growth among the Millennial and Gen Z demographics during 2021.

The report also highlights the divergence between consumer and business intentions when it comes to crypto and payments.

Despite strong demand among key demographics, only 23 percent of e-commerce businesses surveyed said they are planning to offer crypto as a method of payment by 2024.

But among merchants that have already begun offering crypto payments, that decision has already had a significant and positive impact.

More than 80 percent of merchants whose customers have used cryptocurrency at the checkout said they attracted new customers and demographic segments.

Another 80 percent of merchants with existing crypto-payment options said crypto payments are easier to settle than fiat currency payments.

“We believe this is the largest consumer survey of its kind, and the findings present a clear evolution of attitudes towards cryptocurrencies around the world,” said Jess Houlgrave, head of strategy for crypto at Checkout.com.

“This is a legitimate transition from the early adoption phase to one that’s more practical, pragmatic and positive overall.

“This transition means there’s a groundswell of demand for fintech companies that can provide easy-to-deploy solutions and services to get merchants up and running with crypto payment options, and then help them optimise the process over time.

“We expect that trend to only get stronger over the coming year as we bridge more services into Web3.”

Changing attitudes and trust

A similar shift in demand for and acceptance of crypto is also taking place among C-suite professionals.

According to the survey, 36 percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) surveyed said they would like to be able to settle some payments in stablecoins and to hold them on their balance sheets.

The results suggest that crypto payments could evolve away from a crypto-to-fiat conversion model as companies become more willing to hold crypto in its raw form.

Visa, for example, has partnered with 65 crypto wallets that allow consumers to spend in crypto which is then converted to fiat for settlement, but that could soon change.

This week, for example, Worldpay became the first global merchant acquirer to offer direct settlement using the USDC stablecoin.

Given that stablecoins are immune to the volatility of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, they may offer a suitable gateway for companies that are interested in exploring the possibilities of crypto.

More companies are also considering paying their employees in crypto. More than 50 percent of businesses surveyed said they had at least some employees who had expressed an interest in being paid in crypto.

Similarly, 46 percent of online creatives said their fans and audiences have paid them in crypto to support their work.

As VIXIO has reported previously, the creator economy is at the leading edge of crypto adoption in the payments industry, and this is increasingly being reflected in corporate attitudes towards crypto.

For example, 65 percent of C-suite professionals surveyed agreed with the statement that “Web3 will significantly change the B2C dynamic as consumers increasingly become producers (whether of content or monetizable data)”.

2021 a boom year for crypto, says new Gemini survey

While the Checkout.com survey admits that the majority of respondents have not yet held a digital asset personally, a new survey from Gemini, a US cryptocurrency exchange, suggests that 2021 was a boom year for new crypto holders.

According to a survey of 30,000 people in 20 countries, nearly half of all crypto owners in the US, Latin America and Asia-Pacific purchased digital assets for the first time in 2021.

Brazil and Indonesia led the world in crypto adoption, with 41 percent of people surveyed in those countries reporting crypto ownership, compared with 20 percent in the US and 18 percent in the UK.

Holding crypto as a hedge against currency devaluation continues to be a major driver of crypto ownership in some markets.

In Indonesia and India, for example, 64 percent of respondents agreed that cryptocurrencies offer such a protection, compared with only 16 percent in the US and 15 percent in Europe.

The Indian rupee has declined 17.5 percent against the dollar in the last five years, while the Indonesian rupiah declined 50 percent against the dollar from 2011 to 2020.

Similarly, 61 percent of Indonesians agreed with the statement that cryptocurrencies are the “future of money”, compared with only 23 percent in the US, France and Germany.

Among all respondents who own crypto, 79 percent said they chose to purchase digital assets for their long-term investment potential.

On the cautionary side, Gemini’s survey paints a less rosy picture of future crypto adoption than Checkout.com’s, with notably low interest in certain major markets.

In Europe, for example, only 17 percent of respondents said they owned digital assets in 2021, and only 7 percent of those who do not currently own digital assets said they intend to buy one in future.

Further caution is advised in light of the survey methodologies, both of which appear to be self-selecting in favour of younger, wealthier respondents.

For example, Checkout.com notes that the majority of its consumer sample is under age 45, and is “tech-savvy with a relatively strong grounding in crypto and Web3 compared with total global populations”.

Similarly, Gemini’s survey sought respondents only from households that earn more than $14,000 per year.

This excludes the vast majority of people in countries such as Indonesia, the top rated market in its survey, where the average annual salary as of August 2021 was around $2,300, according to government data.

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