Beyond the Blockchain: The Psychology of Cryptocurrency Investment

The rise of Bitcoin in 2009 opened the door to a new era of digital currencies. While cryptocurrencies have attracted a wider audience, a recent study suggests a specific profile for those most enthusiastic about them.

Researchers from the University of Toronto and University of Miami surveyed over 2,000 American adults, finding a connection between cryptocurrency ownership and certain personality traits and beliefs. 

Crypto investors were more likely to be:

  • Male: The study found a higher concentration of male investors compared to females.
  • Skeptical of Authority: A general distrust of traditional institutions and a preference for less authoritarian forms of government emerged as common themes.
  • Drawn to Fringe Media: The study linked cryptocurrency ownership with a reliance on alternative social media platforms for news and information.
  • Open to Conspiracy Theories: Belief in conspiracy theories was another factor associated with cryptocurrency ownership.
  • Diverse Politically: Interestingly, the study didn't find a clear alignment with any particular political ideology. Investors spanned the spectrum, with some leaning towards Christian nationalism and American exceptionalism.
  • Possessing "Dark" Personalities: The study identified a correlation between cryptocurrency ownership and personality traits like narcissism, Machiavellianism, and a need for chaos.

However, it's important to remember some key points. The study relied on self-reported data and focused on the US population, limiting its generalizability. 

Additionally, only 30% of respondents owned cryptocurrency, highlighting the significant diversity within this group.

Despite these limitations, the research offers valuable insights. As governments grapple with regulating cryptocurrencies, understanding the characteristics of those most invested can be crucial.  

The study suggests that a significant portion of cryptocurrency investors are looking for alternatives to traditional financial systems, fueled by a distrust of authority and a preference for a more decentralized approach.

This revised version keeps the core findings from the original article while incorporating a clearer structure, more concise language, and a focus on the diversity within the cryptocurrency investor group.


Published July 3, 2024 in PLOS ONE; The political, psychological, and social correlates of cryptocurrency ownership;


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