Just 8% of Americans have a positive view of cryptocurrencies now, CNBC survey finds

Sam Bankman-Fried, founder and chief executive officer of FTX Cryptocurrency Derivatives Exchange, speaks during the annual membership meeting of the Institute of International Finance (IIF) in Washington, DC, Thursday, October 13, 2022.

Ting Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

After a series of crypto-collapses, scandals and bankruptcies, Americans’ views on cryptocurrency have soured, and CNBC’s All-America Economic Survey found a majority in favor of strong regulation.

The survey shows 43% of the public with a negative view of cryptocurrencies, up from 25% in March. The percentage with a positive view fell to just 8% from 19%, while those who are neutral fell almost in half to 18% from 31%.

CNBC All-America Economic Survey

It’s a dramatic drop for an investment that was touted as its own luxury class and had a celebration coming out on the world stage with multiple Super Bowl ads and celebrity endorsements. That popularity has attracted many ordinary Americans to cryptography and the survey shows that 24% of the public has invested, traded or used cryptocurrency in the past, up from 16% in March.

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The survey of 800 Americans nationwide was conducted November 26-30 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.5%. (The March results on crypto are from an NBC News survey.)

According to the survey, 42% of crypto investors now have a somewhat or very negative view of the asset, matching the 43% result for all adults in the survey. The main difference: 17% of crypto investors are “very negative” compared to 47% of non-crypto investors.

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But it could still be a problem for the crypto to recover its credibility since reputation is seen as central to its valuation.

“It’s a 90% retail market, which means there’s really a mom-and-pop investor mentality,” said Brian Brook, CEO of Bitfury, and former governor of the currency, at this week’s CNBC Financial Advisor Summit. ” And so when you read FTX stories on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, literally every day for the last 30 days … what it does to relative new entrants is they get scared. And as a result that, liquidity is thinner than it would be and people’s willingness to invest is lower.”

Whether a respondent is invested in crypto or not, they are likely to favor regulating it as strictly as stocks or bonds. The survey found that 53% of the public said that crypto should have the same or greater regulation and oversight as stocks and bonds, including 21% of all adults and 16% of crypto investors who want more regulation.

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Negative opinions on crypto come at the same time that the public is soured on stocks. Only 26% say now is a good time to invest in equities, down two points from last quarter’s survey and the most pessimistic level recorded in the survey’s 15-year history. 51% say it’s a bad time to invest, the third highest in the survey’s history, besting only the worst results from the previous two surveys.

(You can see the full survey here.)


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