More On: Bitcoin
Senators and regulators explain why the $60 billion collapse of a major cryptocurrency is not the industry's Bear Stearns moment
A new NBC News poll revealed that one in every five Americans has invested in, traded, or utilized cryptocurrencies, indicating that digital assets are becoming increasingly popular even as politicians warn of market hazards and strive to regulate the industry.
Half of men aged 18 to 49 stated they have dabbled in cryptocurrency, the greatest proportion of any demographic group.
Fourty percent of Black Americans claimed they had traded or used cryptocurrency, while 42 percent of all respondents aged 18 to 34 did the same.
The fact that 21% of 1,000 Americans asked indicated they had used or invested in cryptocurrency at least once demonstrates how quickly the relatively new business has grown in recent years. As Congress seeks to establish new market rules, digital assets have proliferated.
Crypto proponents argue that assets such as bitcoin, Ethereum, and stablecoins give faster transaction speeds, reduced prices, anonymity, security, and the opportunity to bring financial services to underbanked communities.
However, in the absence of serious legislative efforts, the crypto market remains the "Wild West," according to Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler. That could explain why only 19% of individuals polled by NBC News said they regard cryptocurrency favourably, while 25% said they view it negatively.
The majority – 56 percent — stated they are either neutral or unsure about the crypto business.
Nonetheless, the crypto market has become so enormous that President Joe Biden signed an executive order earlier this month instructing appropriate government departments to investigate its risks and benefits.
While the government expressed worries about potential fraud and the financing of unlawful activities, it also stated that the United States had a geopolitical interest in building the infrastructure and governance needed to regulate cryptocurrency.
While both Republicans and Democrats recognize the potential benefits of a cryptocurrency market now worth trillions of dollars, many worry that a lack of federal control exposes consumers to frauds and deadly price volatility.
Even bitcoin, one of the most popular cryptocurrencies, is subject to extreme price fluctuations: it has dropped 20% in the last year.
All signs point to Republican Sen. Cynthia Lummis, a freshman lawmaker from Wyoming and a crypto-industry supporter, introducing a major crypto bill in the coming weeks. Her legislation is thought to include input from a range of government agencies and opinions from the industry.
Investors and crypto exchanges have repeatedly asked Congress to offer guidance on which assets belong to varied classes, protections for retail investors and clarity on the jurisdiction of the SEC, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Federal Reserve.
The NBC News poll surveyed 1,000 adults from March 18 to March 22 and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.1 percentage points.
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