83% of urban Indians are aware of cryptocurrency and the segment has seen 16% of ownership, as per a study conducted by Kantar. The report reveals that the sentiment around cryptocurrency is volatile since tweets or news around cryptocurrency is seen to have an immediate effect on the sentiment. For instance, Elon Musk’s tweet (about not accepting Bitcoin for purchase of Tesla vehicles) gave cryptocurrencies a negative sentiment around May 2021. However, post a reassurance, these sentiments shifted back to positive post June 2021.
Most Indians are currently trying to better understand how cryptocurrency works and if it’s worth the investment and risk, Anand Parameswaran, executive director, insights division, Kantar, said. “This is the first of its kind research study on cryptocurrency in India. We met close to 2,000 consumers and saw that awareness levels are clearly quite high. Consumers are willing to invest in the product and are looking at diversification of their portfolio among high-risk products. Engagement with various crypto exchanges also indicates that ownership numbers seem likely to increase in future,” he added.
Furthermore, out of the 16% urban Indians who claim to currently own cryptocurrency, ownership is highest in the top four metros with 20% of Indians owning cryptocurrency, among private banking customers at 19% and in the age group of 21-35 years capture 18%. The owners have a higher risk appetite, with their investment basket comprising shares at 31% and mutual funds at 21% over traditional choices like fixed deposits at 19% and life insurance at 16%.
The study also finds that cryptocurrency owners and intenders have a diversified financial portfolio. The average number of financial products owned is higher (6.6) among those who have currently invested in cryptocurrency as well as those who intend to (5.2). In comparison, the average number of financial products owned by non-crypto-owners stands at 4.6 and 3.6 for non-intenders. Interestingly, one in two consumers intending to invest in cryptocurrency are repeat investors. Out of the total sample surveyed, 19% Indians intend to invest in cryptocurrency in the next six months. However, this is lower when compared with intention to invest in mutual funds (49%) and shares (33%) in the next six months.
“While most perceive cryptocurrency currently as a digital currency, it is also perceived by majority as an alternate form of investment. Cryptocurrency thus can be a potential competition to alternate investment instruments like gold,” Amanpreet Kalkat, co-founder, Frrole AI, stated.
In terms of ownership, the top five preferred currencies are Bitcoin which leads by far at 75%, followed by Dogecoin at 47%, Ethereum at 40%, Binance Coin at 23% and XRP at 18%. Though Bitcoin leads on ownership; net sentiment is highest for Ethereum (41). Net sentiment for other cryptocurrencies like Dogecoin, XRP and Binance coin is also higher compared to Bitcoin.
Consumer intelligence from social data shows that the profile of those interested in cryptocurrency is most likely to be 25-44 year old men. Higher skew of the cryptocurrency interested audience is also seen towards the top metros with Delhi topping the charts at 21% followed by Mumbai at 17%, Bangalore at 12%, Hyderabad at 7% and Pune at 6%. Crypto exchanges like WazirX, Zebpay, Coinswitch and Kuber are most used to purchase the currency for the most popular ones- Bitcoin (70%), Dogecoin (78%) and Ethereum (70%).