Latin Americans Have Sunnier Forecast for Future of Crypto Than U.S. Public
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After the collapse of FTX, cryptocurrencies have become a touchy subject in American policy and political circles, while global trust in crypto assets has plummeted. But new Morning Consult research finds that adults in four Latin American countries still see a future for crypto as both legal tender and as a reliable form of payment, especially among crypto owners in those nations.
Adults in Latin American Countries Are More Bullish on Crypto Than U.S. Public
Majority of adults in four Latin American countries see a likely future for crypto — especially payments
- Adults in Latin American countries — including 68% of Colombians, 63% of Argentines, 61% of Chileans and 59% of Mexicans — were more inclined than U.S. adults (38%) to say they thought it was likely that crypto would become a reliable form of payment.
- The share of adults who said they own cryptocurrency in some form was fairly consistent across the United States (22%), Argentina (24%), Chile (18%), Colombia (26%) and Mexico (22%).
U.S. and Latin American Crypto Owners See the Digital Asset as Common Legal Tender in Next Decade
U.S. adults least optimistic on crypto as legal tender
- While a majority of adults in the four Latin American countries surveyed thought crypto would be at least somewhat common as legal tender in the next 10 years, fewer than half of U.S. adults felt the same (43%).
- Colombian adults were the most optimistic on crypto being used as legal currency in 10 years, with 68% saying they thought it would be either very or somewhat common.
- The potential for crypto as legal tender comes despite sinking global trust in crypto assets: Morning Consult research found that over the course of 2022, net trust in cryptocurrency dropped from minus 8 to minus 38 percentage points in 17 global markets, as the industry saw the collapses of Terra Luna, Voyager Digital, Celsius and FTX.
As global crypto market moves forward, U.S. politicians and regulators hitting pause
Though U.S. adults report that they were less likely to purchase or sell crypto in the last year, everyday usage of crypto and new product launches in Latin America continue unabated. Mastercard Inc.’s New Payments Index 2022 found that 51% of consumers in Latin American countries have made a transaction with crypto assets. Along with the Latin American crypto exchange Bitso, Mastercard launched a physical debit card in Mexico aimed at facilitating everyday purchases with crypto, while online travel agency Despegar is partnering with Binance Pay to enable travelers in Argentina to pay for their trips with cryptocurrency.
Crypto firms operating in the United States face a foggier environment. After the collapse of FTX sent crypto markets reeling, politicians quickly distanced themselves from crypto companies. U.S. regulators, who have been accused of not taking a firm stance on how crypto assets should be regulated, have made recent moves to penalize some of the industry’s biggest players: the Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued Binance, while the Securities and Exchange Commission announced it intends to sue Coinbase Global Inc.
Agnes Gambill West, a visiting senior research fellow focusing on decentralized finance at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, said that while talking about crypto involves a lot of political risk for lawmakers, the United States could fall behind its global peers as regulators are focused on “an increase in enforcement actions, rather than progress on actual regulatory frameworks.”
“Congress should be working towards creating a pathway for these businesses to succeed,” West said.
The March 16-20, 2023, surveys were conducted among a representative sample of 2,200 U.S. adults and samples of roughly 1,000 Argentine, Chilean, Colombian and Mexican adults, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2 and +/-3 percentage points, respectively.