Australia’s Crypto Surge: 17% Ownership and Growing Adoption Among the Young

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The crypto market in Australia has seen significant growth over the past few years in terms of ownership and adoption.

The country has one of the highest rates of cryptocurrency adoption globally, ranking 9th out of 26 countries for crypto adoption, according to Finder’s Crypto Adoption November 2022 report.

Per the report, the crypto ownership rate in Australia is 17%, which is higher than the global average of 15%.

The cryptocurrency user base in Australia is notably young, with a significant portion of crypto investors being under the age of 24​.

Bitcoin remains the dominant cryptocurrency in Australia, as it does globally, accounting for a significant share of the cryptocurrency market. However, other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum are also gaining traction among Australian users.

Australia Sees Significant Growth in Crypto User Numbers

The number of cryptocurrency users in Australia has been steadily increasing.

In 2022, around 25.6% of Australians owned some form of cryptocurrency, a significant rise from previous years​​.

The trend is supported by a growing interest in digital assets for investment, savings, and transactions.

Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Binance Coin are the top three cryptocurrencies held by Australians.

Dogecoin and Cardano also have a notable presence, although they rank lower in terms of market share, according to Cointree.

Gender Breakdown of Cryptocurrency Users

Currently, more men than women hold cryptocurrency in Australia. However, the number of women entering the crypto space has been increasing rapidly.

In 2021, the number of women involved in cryptocurrency more than doubled, indicating a trend towards greater gender balance in the industry.

Still, only 31% of crypto owners in the country are women.

The imbalance can partly be attributed to differing financial risk tolerances between genders.

Studies suggest that women are generally more risk-averse than men, which influences their investment choices, including cryptocurrencies.

Additionally, a significant portion of the Australian population remains skeptical about cryptocurrencies; 43% of those who don’t own crypto perceive it as too risky.

This perception is stronger among non-crypto investors, with 32% preferring traditional investments over cryptocurrencies.

Crypto apps such as Cointree, CoinSpot, and BTC Markets are popular among Australian users.

These platforms offer user-friendly interfaces and a range of services, including trading, wallet services, and educational resources. Hot wallets, like those provided by Cointree, are used by 60% of Australian crypto owners​.

Regulatory Environment

Australia’s regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies is primarily governed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC).

Key regulations include measures related to anti-money laundering (AML), counter-terrorism financing (CTF), and initial coin offerings (ICOs).

It is worth noting that crypto has been under increasing scrutiny in Australia.

In May last year, cryptocurrency exchange Binance Australia told customers they would lose access to Australian dollar deposits and withdrawals due to a decision by its third-party service provider.

In July, officials from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) even conducted searches at Binance Australia‘s offices.

In October, the Australian government also unveiled a proposal intended to subject digital asset platforms to the same laws that govern other financial services providers.

As part of the plan, crypto platform operators will be required to obtain a financial services license, as well as continuous monitoring and routine audits of customer funds.

In response to increasing restrictions on crypto payments, Blockchain Australia, an industry body representing the Blockchain and digital currency industry in Australia, has launched new initiatives to tackle the issue of crypto scams and frauds.

Australia to Approve Crypto ETFs

The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) is on track to greenlight the country’s first spot Bitcoin ETFs by the end of 2024.

The race is currently on for Australia’s first Spot Bitcoin ETF. Local firm BetaShares is reportedly developing a product for the ASX.

Meanwhile, DigitalX said in February that it lodged an application. And VanEck, a major player in US and European Bitcoin ETFs, has also resubmitted its proposal.

This move is expected to provide more institutional investors with exposure to Bitcoin, potentially increasing the overall investment in cryptocurrencies in Australia.

It is worth noting that Australia is home to several successful crypto startups, such as Power Ledger, which focuses on blockchain-based energy trading, and DigitalX, a blockchain technology and investment firm.

The Bottom Line

The cryptocurrency landscape in Australia has experienced notable growth, with the nation ranking ninth globally in crypto adoption.

Approximately 17% of Australians own some form of cryptocurrency, surpassing the global average of 15%.

The trend is bolstered by a young demographic, with many crypto investors under the age of 24.

The primary cryptocurrencies held are Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Binance Coin, though Dogecoin and Cardano also maintain a presence in the market.

On the regulatory front, Australia’s framework is governed by ASIC and AUSTRAC, focusing on AML, CTF, and ICOs.

Recent regulatory actions include increased scrutiny and operational restrictions for platforms like Binance Australia, and proactive measures by Blockchain Australia to combat crypto scams and frauds.

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