“This is the most exciting time in financial history”

The chairman of the crypto department at PwC is convinced that we are currently in the most exciting time in financial history. A recently published survey aims to find out what the future of payment looks like.

A survey published in 2021 entitled “Digital Currencies from Fear to Inflexion” wanted to know what the global future of payment looks like. The crypto company Crypto.com commissioned the London-based weekly newspaper “The Economist”With the implementation.

The first part of the survey deals with the use and demand of cryptocurrencies from a consumer perspective. A total of 3,053 people were interviewed for this. Half of the participants came from industrialized countries such as Great Britain, the USA, France, South Korea and Australia. The other half comes from developing countries such as Brazil or South Africa. The gender distribution is also interesting in the survey, because contrary to the current inequality in the crypto space, 54 percent of the survey participants were women.

In 2021, more and more institutional investors took the plunge into the wild crypto waters. In addition to tech companies such as Tesla, large asset managers such as Blackrock and Franklin Templeton have now invested millions of US dollars in Bitcoin companies. And so the second part of the survey focuses primarily on institutional investors and companies that deal with blockchain technology. To this end, around 200 institutional investors were surveyed. Among other things, The Economist received exclusive opinions from Matthew McDermott, Global Head of Digital Assets at Goldman Sachs and Henri Arslanian, responsible for the crypto department at PwC. This part was largely about the use and demand of digital assets from the perspective of institutional investors and entrepreneurs.

“Covid was a catalyst for Bitcoin and Co.”

For the past two years, the coronavirus has presented the world with a tough challenge. Henri Arslanian, among others, is convinced that the pandemic has not only produced bad things.

I think cryptocurrencies will be a very accepted and widely used asset class. What we are experiencing right now is the most exciting time in financial history. This is such a pivotal moment in the history of money and also in the future of money. One catalyst for this development was actually Covid.

Henri Arslanian, Crypto Leader PwC

Because due to the corona pandemic, people were faced with completely new problems overnight. For example, many stores have explicitly asked customers not to use cash because of the risk of contagion. In addition, there was a real boom in online shopping, because shops and restaurants around the world were closed. And that fits Arslanian’s view. Goldman Sachs’ Matthew McDermott also thinks in this context:

Covid-19 and the low interest rates create a great impetus for action. In light of this, now is the right time for companies to offer people the opportunity to trade, hold and use digital currencies.

Matthew McDermott, Global Head of Digital Assets at Goldman Sachs

The above points are also shared by the survey participants. A full 46 percent stated that the corona pandemic increased the use of digital currencies and also crypto currencies a lá Bitcoin.

Obstacles to a cashless world

Originally, one of Satoshi Nakamoto’s goals was to create an alternative to the traditional cash system with Bitcoin. Under this premise, the participants were asked what obstacles they see for a cashless world. 40 percent of those questioned saw old habits as the main obstacle. Traditional cash just has too long a history and people just need a little more time to break those habits. 38 percent said they did not understand the technology behind it. Finally, 36 percent of respondents saw concerns about data security as a major obstacle.

Main reasons to hold cryptocurrencies

The motivation for buying cryptocurrencies for 33 percent of the survey participants was simple capital growth. 31 percent are more likely to use cryptocurrencies to diversify their portfolio. 29 percent saw the role of cryptocurrencies in transferring larger sums. And 25 percent chose cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as a hedge against geopolitical uncertainties. Only 2 percent stated that cryptocurrencies have no role in their portfolio.

Ultimately, the survey shows a growing interest from institutional as well as private investors. Because in recent years it has increasingly happened that traditional money has also found its way into the still new cryptocurrency market.

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