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Singaporeans likely to invest in crypto, even if they can't explain it: Survey

While three out of five surveyed said they were "likely" to buy crypto in the next few years, nearly half were not confident in explaining crypto.

CGI image of Bitcoin cryptocurrency
Some three in five Singaporeans said in a survey that they are "likely" to personally invest in cryptocurrency in the next few years, despite fears of its risks and lack of understanding of the technologies involved. (PHOTO: Getty) (Westend61 via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Most Singaporeans are enthusiastic about personally investing in cryptocurrency despite many not being able to understand cryptocurrencies or blockchain technology, according to a recent report by consulting firm CT Group.

The report, titled "What Singaporeans Think About Cryptocurrency", was the result of an online survey with 1,057 Singaporeans aged 18 and above, conducted between 10 and 14 March 2023. The survey gave quotas and weightage to reflect Singapore's population by age, gender, location and ethnic group.

It found that three in five, or 61 per cent, of Singaporeans surveyed were "likely" to buy cryptocurrency in the next few years. This includes 30 per cent of those who have never owned any cryptocurrency. Some 52 per cent of those who said they are likely to buy are driven by a belief that cryptocurrency can help them get ahead while 49 per cent believe cryptocurrencies can make them financially stable.

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On the other hand, a total of 35 per cent said they were "unlikely" to purchase cryptocurrency in the near future. While more than half (55 per cent) of those surveyed said they currently or have previously owned cryptocurrency, it is notable that 24 per cent of those who previously owned cryptocurrency said they are unlikely to buy cryptocurrency in the next few years, potentially reflecting a lack of confidence in cryptocurrency's future.

Inadequate knowledge isn't a barrier

On respondents' knowledge of cryptocurrencies, cryptocurrency companies, exchanges and blockchain technology, the report said the results reflect a "soft" level of understanding. Despite the high receptivity towards buying cryptocurrencies, nearly half (47 per cent) of all surveyed said they were "not very confident" or "not at all confident" in explaining blockchain technology while 42 per cent were not confident in explaining cryptocurrencies.

Only 25 per cent or one-quarter of those surveyed said they could "very confidently" explain cryptocurrencies. The survey also found that confidence was highest among men aged 18-54 when it came to explaining cryptocurrencies, while confidence was lowest among women aged 18-34 and men aged 55 and above.

Interestingly, the report also noted how favourability toward cryptocurrencies is reflected in demographic profiles such as age, socio-economic status and engagement with cryptocurrency. Based on survey results, the report said that the typical supporter of cryptocurrencies is male, aged 35-54 years old, has a higher income and owns cryptocurrency.

In contrast, those with unfavourable sentiments towards cryptocurrencies tend to be older men, those with lower income and education, and non-cryptocurrency owners. Those with "soft" views, or were open to being persuaded of the merits of cryptocurrencies, were younger and less likely to own cryptocurrency – therefore making them less confident about it.

Regulations wanted

When it comes to cryptocurrency regulations, the survey found that Singaporeans tend to be overwhelmingly in favour of regulation to protect investors and users' money as well as to reduce fraud.

They also commonly agree that crypto companies and exchanges cannot be trusted and that regulation of cryptocurrency is also needed to maintain Singapore's global reputation for financial management.

When asked whether regulation of cryptocurrency will kill what could be an important part of Singapore’s economic future, 46 per cent of those surveyed agreed with the statement. Similarly, 45 per cent agreed that regulation would stop Singapore from being a financial hub for the use and promotion of cryptocurrency. Of those who said they agreed, men between the ages of 18-54 were found to be the most likely to agree with the two statements.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has held a long-term view in favour of digital asset innovation and has promoted Singapore as a FinTech hub. On the other hand, it has also introduced strict licensing processes for firms who want to carry out crypto-related services in Singapore and has issued strong warnings to the public against retail investments in cryptocurrencies.

With the 2022 "crypto winter" that saw the collapse of the algorithmic stablecoin TerraUSD – along with the downfall of major cryptocurrency players such as lenders Voyager Digital, Celsius Network, and BlockFi, crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital and cryptocurrency exchange FTX – the MAS has been taking increasingly stronger measures to restrict retail access to cryptocurrencies.

"Yes to digital asset innovation, no to cryptocurrency speculation", said MAS Managing Director Ravi Menon in 2022.

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