The Ontario Securities Commission survey found that 13% of Canadians currently own digital assets such as cryptocurrency (think Bitcoin or Ethereum) or non-fungible tokens (NFTs). While this may seem like a small minority, more than twice as many intend to buy the assets this year as mentioned above. Younger Canadians (aged 18-34), males, those with household incomes of $100,000 or more, and those who had seen crypto ads were more likely to say they intended to buy something.
Among the survey participants, many of those who own crypto assets learned about it from friends, family or colleagues, followed by social media influencers and/or experts in blockchain technology (the decentralized digital ledgers that record crypto transactions).
Traditional institutional investors and financial services firms have started adopting crypto assets, mostly indirectly, such as through ETFs. Some examples are Fidelity’s Advantage Bitcoin ETF and the bitcoin and cryptocurrency ETFs available from Horizons ETFs. The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan recently announced that it had invested $95 million — 0.05% of plan assets — in now-ailing cryptocurrency exchange FTX.
The survey was conducted online from April 26 to May 10, 2022. It included 2,185 respondents from the general public, plus 175 additional crypto owners to enroll at least 500 crypto owners.
What Are Canadian Crypto Investors Buying?
Of the 13% of Canadians who already own crypto assets, 6% own crypto assets, 6% own both crypto assets and crypto funds, and 2% own crypto funds only. Crypto funds are securities like exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that either invest only in cryptocurrencies or blockchain technology, or invest in crypto along with traditional stocks and bonds. Crypto assets include Bitcoin, Ethereum, stablecoins and other altcoins, and NFTs.
Do Canadians Know Enough About Crypto?
In their report, the survey authors noted that “the rapid rate of innovation has underscored the need to better understand Canadians’ experiences with crypto trading platforms, advertising, and decentralized finance.”
So is our level of knowledge keeping pace with the rapid changes in the industry? Overall, “Canadians’ practical knowledge of crypto assets was low,” the survey authors noted. Respondents completed a six-question knowledge test on the practical, legal, and regulatory aspects of crypto, and the average score was just 37%. Only 1% of respondents answered all six questions correctly; fewer than 25% have four or more correct.
Current crypto owners had a higher average score than the general population (61%) on the crypto knowledge questions and four general financial literacy questions.