Sam Bankman-Fried, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of FTX Cryptocurrency Derivatives Exchange, speaks during the Institute of International Finance (IIF) Annual Members Meeting in Washington, DC on Thursday, October 13, 2022.
Ting Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images
After a series of crypto meltdowns, scandals, and bankruptcies, Americans’ views on cryptocurrency have taken a sharp turn for the worse, with the CNBC All-America Economic Survey finding a majority in favor of strong regulation.
The poll shows that 43% of the public are negative about cryptocurrencies, up from 25% in March. Positive opinions fell from 19% to just 8%, and neutral opinions fell almost in half from 31% to 18%.
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CNBC All-America Economic Survey
It’s a dramatic drop for an investment that’s been touted as an asset class in its own right and has had a celebrated coming-out party on the global stage with multiple Super Bowl ads and celebrities. This popularity drew many ordinary Americans to crypto, and the poll shows that 24% of the public have invested, traded, or used cryptocurrency in the past, up from 16% in March.
The survey of 800 Americans nationwide was conducted November 26-30 and has an error rate of +/- 3.5%. (The March results for crypto come from a poll by NBC News.)
According to the survey, 42% of crypto investors now have a somewhat or very negative view of the asset, matching the 43% result for all adults in the survey. The key difference: 17% of crypto investors are “very negative” versus 47% of non-crypto investors.
But it could still be a problem for crypto to regain its credibility as reputation seems to be central to its valuation.
“It’s 90% a retail market, which means wholesale investor sentiment is really important,” said Brian Brook, Bitfury’s CEO and former comptroller of the currency, at this week’s CNBC Financial Advisor Summit. So when you read FTX stories on the front page of The Wall Street Journal, literally every day for the last 30 days…what it does for relatively new entrants, they get scared. As a result, liquidity is lower than before and people are less willing to invest.”
Whether or not a respondent is invested in crypto, they are likely to prefer regulation as tight as stocks or bonds. The poll found that 53% of the public say crypto should have the same or more regulation and oversight as stocks and bonds, including 21% of all adults and 16% of crypto investors who want more regulation.
Negative views on crypto come at the same time that the public has been pissed about stocks. Just 26% say now is a good time to invest in stocks, down two points from last quarter’s survey and the most bearish reading in the survey’s 15-year history. 51% say it’s a bad time to invest, the third-highest reading in the poll’s history, surpassed only by the dismal results of the previous two polls.
(You can view the full survey here.)