Crypto has gone mainstream.
Once an esoteric investment held by a select group of people on the internet, it’s now something many investors hold in their portfolio. The global cryptocurrency market size was valued at $1.7 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $32.4 billion by 2027, according to some estimates. Crypto startups raised $9.2 billion across 461 equity deals in the first quarter, up 155% year-over-year.
Part of this move toward crypto has been driven by the involvement of young people in the space. Nearly one-quarter of GenZ survey respondents said they hold crypto, compared to 6% of baby boomers.
To learn more about the interest from younger generations, I reached out to a few GenZ investors who are a part of the young investors group I founded, the Young Investors Network, as well as Will Rush, the founder of GenZ crypto investing app Stack.
Given the recent fall of crypto values, I had to ask Rush for his take on the current market conditions.
“If you believe that digital assets are the future of financial technology, you know that this is another opportunity to rid itself of the bad and focus in on the good,” he said. “Many of the most talented people I know have migrated to Web3, so we have some of the brightest minds working towards the next upswing.”
Why do young people get involved in crypto?
A common trend I heard was that they saw the price of cryptocurrency skyrocketing and wanted to get a piece of the profits.
Rush got involved in 2014 after seeing the price of Bitcoin making large moves and he began to experiment with different brokerages.
Most of the GenZ members at Young Investors Network who have gotten involved in the space saw a lot of content about crypto on TikTok during the COVID-19 lockdowns and many of them first got involved with the Dogecoin craze and then transitioned to other more reputable coins.
A survey from GOBankingRates found that more than 34% of GenZ learns about personal finance from TikTok and Youtube. This speaks to the importance of social media in the investing world. Everyone I talked to mentioned how important platforms such as TikTok and Reddit had been in their understanding of crypto and investing as a whole.
What advice do young people have for their peers?
From working with many young investors I have found that too many young people make investment decisions without knowing what they’re getting involved with and without doing the proper research.
The GenZers I spoke with talked about the importance of understanding what you’re investing in first and mentioned some of their favorite YouTubers and crypto websites including Crypto Banter and Coinpedia.
Rush came at it from a different approach. Though you should do research before any investment, if you just put some money into the crypto markets, you’re going to be above 60% of investors who don’t do anything, he said.
He also explained the importance of not just following the crowd and used the Wall Street Bets fiasco as an analogy. Although some people made money, he said, the vast majority of people got in at the top and lost a lot. These were the people you don’t hear about, he said.
What about careers in crypto?
Career-wise, crypto is becoming a path a lot of young people want to get involved with, and landing a job in crypto has been one of the most requested event topics at Young Investors Network.
Both of the young people I spoke with said they are considering a career in the industry. They originally wanted to work as investment bankers, but after seeing the amount of money and the popularity of crypto they began to consider it as a potential career.
They were also interested in building in the space after seeing how well many people did in a short timeframe after creating their own projects, and they thought it could be a good place to experiment. Indeed saw a 118% jump in career postings in the crypto industry in 2021 compared to 2020.
Rush said something I have definitely seen through my work with YIN: young people now are very entrepreneurial and a lot of them have crypto on their minds. He believes that as young people evolve as entrepreneurs, more and more of them will find themselves in the crypto space.
How do you break into the crypto space?
Rush’s number one piece of advice is to engage with the crypto content out there. Whether it’s watching advertisements (don’t skip them, he said, no matter how much you want to watch the funny cat video) or looking into interesting new brokers or projects, it’s important to understand what is out there, he said. Rush said it’s important to get career advice from reputable sources and talk with people who’ve done what you want to do — not social media stars who claim to know the next big thing.