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Bitcoin’s surge propels Australian crypto awareness

By Jessica Penny
3 minute read

Bitcoin is helping bring greater awareness of digital currencies to more Australians, new data has shown.

Australia’s awareness of crypto has now hit a new high of 95 per cent as digital currencies embed themselves well within the public eye, according to new figures from the Independent Reserve Cryptocurrency Index (IRCI).

As awareness of crypto has grown, so too has investment appetite, with Aussie crypto ownership rates increasing to 28 per cent this year from 17 per cent in 2019.

Chief among investor interest was bitcoin, which remained a favourite among investors at a 63 per cent ownership rate.

This surge in appetite for exposure to digital currencies comes after anticipation of the launch of the first bitcoin spot ETF in the US propelled bitcoin’s value to more than 150 per cent higher during 2023.

Australia seems to be on the pulse of this development too, with 34 per cent of respondents, including non-crypto investors, asserting to be in the know about the SEC’s major announcement last year.

“The palpable shift in Aussie awareness of, and sentiment towards cryptocurrencies, has been driven primarily by bitcoin and the global bitcoin spot ETF approvals, but also by local regulatory reform that will help drive investment, provide certainty to the sector and ultimately, increase consumer protection,” IRCI chief executive officer Adrian Przelozny said.

“In 2023, bitcoin propelled many investors into profitability, solidifying its position as the undisputed digital gold, and with the next bitcoin halving approaching in April, 2024 promises to be a bullish year.”

Namely, the upcoming “halving” means that the reward for mining bitcoin will be severed by 50 per cent, reducing the rate at which new coins are created and lowering the available amount of new supply.

Following the SECs approval for spot bitcoin ETFs in January, AMP chief economist Shane Oliver said that Australian regulators are likely to follow suit.

“This will improve and widen access to bitcoin by making it easier to access via regular investment accounts rather than e.g. crypto exchanges that have had issues,” Dr Oliver explained.

“It also brings the crypto industry closer to the world of regulated traditional finance.”

Will crypto crash before it takes off?

While crypto appears to be gaining traction among Australians, there are segments of the population who want to dip into the asset class but don’t believe they can.

Namely, 17 per cent of respondents said they want to invest in crypto but are not in a financial position to do so, while 20 per cent said they want to buy in but don’t know where to start.

“Our 2024 IRCI results reflect greater awareness of crypto, higher adoption rates and an increase in medium-term confidence with a rise in the number of people likely to invest in the next 12 months,” Mr Przelozny said.

“This comes despite the current economic uncertainty for many Australians with the increased cost of living and rising interest rates.”

Meanwhile, almost a quarter (24 per cent) said they are considering selling or partially selling their crypto portfolio to help them cope with the rising cost of living.