By CCN: According to a new survey conducted by a gold investment research firm, most retirees in the U.S. are aware of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies but are not interested in investing in the asset class.
More than 56 percent of respondents said that they are aware of the existence of bitcoin but have not considered investing in it, and 32.9 percent have said that they are not aware of the asset class.
Based on the official data provided by the U.S. government, there are approximately 47.8 million retirees in the U.S. and it remains a large market for various asset classes including precious metals.
Why Your Grandma Isn’t Interested in Bitcoin
The research firm said that retirees are constantly on the lookout for viable asset classes to invest in and that the acknowledgment of cryptocurrency IRAs by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can be considered as an indicator of rising demand for crypto assets by retirement account holders.
“Retirees are always interested in alternative assets that can help diversify their portfolio against market fluctuations. The IRS approving cryptocurrency IRAs is an indication that retirees are increasingly interested in including some cryptocurrencies in their retirement accounts,” the researchers said.
For retirees, even if bitcoin is considered a viable alternative to assets like gold as a store of value, it is difficult to invest in it because of technological boundaries.
Often, investors purchase crypto assets through regulated exchanges like Coinbase, Gemini, and Kraken in the U.S. But, due to strict regulations in place, investors are required to undergo a rigorous know your customer (KYC) verification process.
After the lengthy process, investors then have to move funds from their bank accounts to the exchange, most of which require online services.
The entire process can be cumbersome for retirees and older investors, and until the process can be as simple as buying stocks through a company like Fidelity or BlackRock through a call, the cryptocurrency market is unlikely to be compelling enough for retirees.
Bitcoin Has to be as Easy as Stocks
Speaking to Fortune in late 2018 about his intent to bring bitcoin to 401(k) plans, NYSE chairman Jeff Sprecher stated that bitcoin does not have a good market structure yet.
“Bitcoin does not have a good market structure. Even for Bitcoin, different markets are posting lots of different prices. And you can pay an up to 6% spread to exchange dollars for Bitcoin, meaning Bitcoin needs to rise by as much 6% before you break even.”
In the future, Sprecher said that asset managers and financial institutions would use currencies millennials trust in to appeal to the younger generation, like bitcoin
“Millennials don’t trust traditional financial institutions. To gain their trust, banks, brokerages, and asset managers can use a currency that millennials believe in, like Bitcoin. Using digital currencies brings a lot of sizzle,” Sprecher added.
If Fidelity, ICE’s Bakkt, and other custodial service providers can successfully create a solid market structure for bitcoin as suggested by Sprecher, more retiree account holders and investors who previously were reluctant towards investing in bitcoin could find the asset class more compelling.