Australians bought $4 billion of cryptocurrency in 2017, lost half
Bitcoin got the majority and only about 2% of the money went outside the top 5 coins by market cap.
Australians spent over $3.9 billion AUD on cryptocurrency in 2017, according to research by Accenture and the Australian Digital Commerce Association. The report also showed that it was mostly driven by FOMO, with December 2017 alone making up 48% of the total transactions made all year, and 59% of the total value. In other words, Australians threw a total of $4 billion at cryptocurrencies in 2017, and over $2 billion of that in December alone.
This suggests that about half of that value has since disappeared into thin air, thanks to vagaries of the market.
For the sake of perspective, it's worth noting that Australians spend about $11 billion on pokie machines per year (PDF) and lose 85-90% of it.
"As our research clearly shows, cryptocurrencies are making waves globally and here in Australia,” said Arjan Bloemer, a managing director at Accenture. "The technology behind them can change many aspects of our current financial system, and we believe that central banks and financial institutions can play a key role in shaping this landscape by establishing a strong foundation for the use of cryptocurrencies, ensuring economic growth and consumer protection and supporting the adoption of progressive approaches to currency control and use."
2017's most popular
Not coincidentally, the coins purchased are an almost perfect match for the prices with only a tiny fraction of purchases venturing anywhere outside the top 5 coins by market cap. The highest value individual transaction was worth $500,000, and the average was $1,430 across a total of 2.7 million transactions.
A total of 312,633 unique Australian customers were registered across the studied cryptocurrency exchanges, with the vast majority (83%) being males and skewing towards younger age groups. Only 11% were over the age of 50, while 18% were age 40-49. By contrast, 40% were aged 18 to 29, and 31% were age 30 to 39.
The results of this study suggest a few things.
- The age and gender demographics are almost a perfect mirror of buyer demographics taken partway through 2017, suggesting that gender and age composition is remaining relatively steady even as cryptocurrency popularity grows. Gender disparity in cryptocurrency could be a hard-to-solve problem.
- Most people (and their money) jumped on with prices nearing their peak, getting into cryptocurrency just in time to catch the crash. This is the same pattern seen all over the world. It's possible that around 50% of everyone in crypto at the start of 2018 was immediately hit with a pricey wave of disillusionment. This goes a long way towards explaining the sluggish state of the market and slow recovery.
Disclosure: At the time of writing the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VEN, XLM, BTC, XRB
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