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The great migration: Are ‘baby boomers’ the new face of crypto?

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The great migration towards mainstream cryptocurrency adoption is on the horizon. While the crypto space and crypto adoption has traditionally been dominated by younger investors, users, and consumers, such as Millennials and Gen X, recent developments in the world of finance and investment —namely the spot Bitcoin ETF approvals— may be expanding the scope of crypto investment to encompass older demographics. More traditional investor profiles, such as baby boomers (typically understood to be those born between 1946 and 1964), are beginning to open up their portfolios, often managed by dominant wealth managers such as Merrill Lynch and UBS in the United States, to incorporate Bitcoin. 

As these typically wealthier generations migrate towards cryptocurrencies as legitimate investment opportunities and stores of value, how will this impact crypto’s utility across wider society? Merchants and businesses are likely to see an increase in demand for crypto payments as Bitcoin and other digital currencies gain traction among mainstream audiences. But just what is driving this migration?

The traditional face of crypto

Traditional crypto adopters, users, and consumers tend to be digital natives who have grown up during or following the dot.com bubble. This collective is generally less risk-averse and, since Bitcoin’s release in 2009, has progressively inflated the global cryptocurrency market cap to its current value of $2.70 Trillion (as of the 8th of March, 2024). Many early adopters were drawn to crypto because of its decentralized nature, the fact that it is not governed by any institution and that any exchange of funds is strictly peer-to-peer. Disenamoured by and skeptical of traditional financial systems following the 2008 Wall Street crash, early adopters saw Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and the blockchain as a new and secure means to earn and control one’s own wealth. 

This principle continues to ring true. Across the world, individuals, families, communities, and businesses from all economic levels use cryptocurrencies to pay and transact at speeds much faster than traditional payment railways. Cryptocurrencies enhance levels of privacy, security and autonomy when it comes to moving and managing funds, which has helped this market to grow and establish itself as a legitimate financial alternative in the global economy. As news and analyses of its utility and value penetrate mainstream media, the acceptance of cryptocurrencies as a viable solution and a reliable store of value is also expanding exponentially.

Bitcoin’s ascent following the spot Bitcoin ETF approvals

Since the approval of the elven spot Bitcoin ETFs on the 10th of January 2024, Bitcoin has witnessed a remarkable surge in value, almost reaching a new all-time high in early March of the same year. The approval triggered a substantial influx of funds, particularly into the BlackRock ETF, with an impressive $11 billion USD gained in investments, including a $1 billion increase seen in a single day. The availability of ten other ETFs has further fueled this surge, indicating a 12-fold increase in demand for Bitcoin. 

Financial experts have recommended allocating between 1% and 5% of a traditional portfolio to Bitcoin through ETFs, underlining the growing acknowledgment of Bitcoin as a legitimate investment. This surge is not, however, limited to the cryptocurrency market. Bitcoin’s performance has been seen to influence that of the stock market, reflecting its potential role as an index for global liquidity. These positive trends are likely to influence the perception of Bitcoin —and cryptocurrencies in general by extension— and lead to an increase in direct adoption of the asset throughout society, boosting its utility as a viable form of payment and transaction. 

The baby boomer Bitcoin potential 

Baby boomers, many of whom in 2024 are nearing retirement, typically invest in assets such as target-date funds, stocks and equities, bonds, real estate, and precious metals, according to Nasdaq. However, the approval and availability of Bitcoin ETFs has allowed baby boomers to enter a market traditionally dominated by younger generations. The fact that the ETFs are also offered through major asset managers also means that ETF investors are not directly exposed to the volatility of the crypto market, which aligns with a preference for lower risk tolerance and market oversight. 

According to Mike Novogratz, CEO of Galaxy Digital, baby boomers accumulate an estimated gross wealth of around $85 trillion USD, most of which is managed by registered firms.  Approximately half of these firms have access to the eleven recently approved spot Bitcoin ETFs. The Wall Street Journal states how the major asset managers now offering ETFs, such as BlackRock and VanEck, have been channeling hundreds of thousands of U.S. dollars into marketing campaigns targeted precisely at this age group. With a minimal Bitcoin ETF allocation of between 1% and 3%, boomer portfolios will provide fresh liquidity for the digital asset that reaches into the trillions. 

How is this migration towards crypto likely to affect merchants?

The increased value, accessibility, and confidence in Bitcoin following the spot Bitcoin ETF approvals are poised to have a ripple effect on the broader cryptocurrency market and potentially society’s understanding of their utility as a whole. This surge in interest and investment from a traditionally more risk-averse demographic marks a significant shift in perception. As Bitcoin gains broader acceptance, it is likely to influence the direct adoption and use of all cryptocurrencies on a global scale. Businesses and merchants must prepare to cater to the growing segment of crypto-consumers, adopting payment gateways such as ForumPay to execute secure crypto-to-FIAT payments, remain relevant, and meet consumer expectations. 

If you are a business and have yet to start accepting payments in cryptocurrency, book a meeting with one of our crypto payment experts to find out more. They are available to answer all your questions. Alternatively, visit forumpay.com for more information.

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ForumPay does not disclose financial advice. Anything shared is strictly to inform, entertain, or share thoughts and ideas. Please seek a registered financial advisor if you are looking for financial advice.

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