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Nearly everyone has heard of cryptocurrency but it’s still mostly young men trading it

Cryptocurrency has been a constant in the news in 2021, and a Thursday report from Pew Research Center shows that Americans are now more familiar than ever with the concept.

The research, conducted in September revealed that nearly nine-in-ten Americans say they have heard at least something about cryptocurrency. In 2015, when Pew Research Center asked people if they had heard of Bitcoin, less than 50% said they had heard of the cryptocurrency to any degree. Only 1% said they had ever collected, traded, or used Bitcoin in 2015.

In Pew’s latest survey, six years later, 16% of participants said they had invested in, traded, or used a cryptocurrency. Among those that had interacted personally with crypto, many were between 18 and 29 years old.

Forty-three percent of men ages 18 to 29 years old had either invested in, traded, or used a cryptocurrency compared to women in the same age group (19%) or men between 30 and 49 years old (30%).

People who had heard a lot about cryptocurrency tended to be younger and male, but also more diverse. Forty-three percent of Asian males said they had heard a lot about cryptocurrency, followed by 29% of Hispanic adults and about a quarter for Black and white adults.

The findings come at the end of an important year for crypto in general. Crypto-related companies have brought in millions in venture capital funding and some companies such as CoinBase have publicly listed shares. The price of the biggest cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin and Ether, have risen to new heights this year as more companies and countries take digital currency seriously.

Regulators have also taken notice of the increasing growth of digital currency. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler has put increased pressure on the industry and has referred to it as the “Wild West.” In September, China also banned all cryptocurrency transactions.

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