Singapore scored 55 out of 100, indicating a hit to respondents' confidence in cryptocurrency
44% hold at least 10% of crypto in their portfolio; 40% are likely to invest in the next 12 months
Deep-dive into attitudes toward cryptocurrency across three new segments this year: Female Investors, High-income Earners, and Young Adults
SINGAPORE, March 29, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- In the latest study by Independent Reserve, Singapore's first regulated cryptocurrency exchange for all investors, Singaporeans are still actively investing in cryptocurrency despite a hit in overall confidence. The nation scored 55 on the IRCI this year, a decline from last year's score of 61.
The dip in confidence can be attributed to the difficult year the industry had in 2022. Nevertheless, 44% of Singaporeans hold at least 10% of cryptocurrency in their portfolio, where 46% invest up to $1,000 per month on cryptocurrency.
Key IRCI 2023 highlights
91% are aware of at least one cryptocurrency
26-35 year olds most aware of cryptocurrency
Bitcoin retains highest awareness at 87%
44% hold at least 10% of cryptocurrency in their portfolio
47% have been investing in cryptocurrency for 1-2 years
About half of Singaporeans, 46%, invest up to $1,000 / month on cryptocurrency
54% use cryptocurrency to diversify portfolio, 53% invest because of friends and family and 47% do so out of curiosity, media driven
45% cite price volatility as a barrier to cryptocurrency investing, while 30% want more consumer protection and regulation
59% say that clarity in regulation would help increase their trust in cryptocurrency
53% see Bitcoin as an investment asset or store of value
50% believe that cryptocurrency will reach mass-scale adoption
40% are likely to invest in cryptocurrency over the next 12 months
48% plan to increase their current cryptocurrency portfolio
72% are likely to recommend cryptocurrency to family & friends
78% who invested for five years or more saw the value of their cryptocurrency portfolio increase
85% investors who have invested in cryptocurrency for more than 5 years are confident / very confident in its long-term viability
This year's edition also examines attitudes toward cryptocurrency across three new segments: Female Investors, High-income Earners, and Young Adults.
37% of females are invested in cryptocurrency, up 7% since 2022. Conversely, 48% of males invested in cryptocurrency, down 1%
76% of females reported making money or breaking even, compared to 72% of males
65% of Singaporeans earning S$5,000 or more per month have invested in cryptocurrency, an increase of 6% from last year
The S$7,000 to S$9,000 income segment allocated the highest portion of their investment portfolio toward cryptocurrency
33% of 18 to 25-year-old Singaporeans (also known as "Gen Z") want to invest in cryptocurrency, but say they do not have the financial means to do so
Gen Z cohort is most optimistic about Bitcoin's long-term price but also the most neutral when it comes to cryptocurrency preferences
"2022 was a challenging time for the cryptocurrency industry, due to several macroeconomic factors. The collapse of Terra-Luna and the FTX fallout has understandably led to a loss of confidence and trust in the industry. As recent global financial events continue to unfold, many may also re-evaluate their dependence on traditional financial institutions to safeguard their money and turn to alternative assets such as Bitcoin to hedge against bank defaults and currency debasement. It is encouraging to see that optimism towards the long-term benefits of cryptocurrency remains strong in Singapore and that investors who adopt a long-term view are reaping rewards." said Lasanka Perera, Chief Executive Officer of Independent Reserve Singapore.
"Singapore has one of the clearest and robust regulations for cryptocurrencies, which gives investors an added assurance of dealing with trusted players. As Singapore continues to remain open to innovation in digital assets, education remains crucial as awareness and adoption of cryptocurrencies among residents grow."
In 2023, general awareness of cryptocurrencies among Singapore residents increased to 91% from 90%. The 26 to 35-year-old age group is the most aware of cryptocurrencies.
While awareness of Bitcoin remains the same as last year at 87%, altcoins are steadily gaining recognition. Among all the altcoins, Ethereum continues to be the most popular with 51% awareness. This could be due to the completion of The Merge in September 2022, the growth in NFTs, decentralised finance (DeFi) and decentralised apps (dApps).
"The rising popularity of altcoins shows that more Singaporeans are beginning to gain more awareness about other cryptocurrencies apart from Bitcoin. This is a promising sign for the industry as more investors gain exposure to various types of blockchains and projects that have innovative utility and potential to be adopted more widely for real-world applications and use cases," Mr Perera said.
Cryptocurrency ownership has increased to 43% from 40% in 2022, with 77% of investors holding two or more different cryptocurrencies. The primary reason for investing in cryptocurrency has shifted towards diversifying portfolios at 54%, a 10% rise from last year.
That said, the reason for investing in cryptocurrency is also dependent on how seasoned the investor is. For example, seasoned investors with 5+ years of experience say diversifying their portfolio (68%) and getting rich (48%) are the primary reasons for investing in digital assets.
In contrast, 50% of new investors with less than 12 months of experience were primarily influenced by the media, family, and friends.
Similar to IRCI 2022, price volatility is the top reason why Singaporeans are avoiding investing in cryptocurrency, at 45%.
According to survey respondents, 59% say the most critical factor for increasing trust in cryptocurrency is clarity around government regulation. 41% of respondents meanwhile believe that responsible behaviour from crypto companies will improve their trust.
For the 18 to 25-year-olds however, 59% say education is the top factor for gaining their trust towards cryptocurrencies, compared to 53% in 2022.
Due to several high-profile fallouts in the cryptocurrency industry over the last 12 months, short-term confidence in digital assets has been affected. Despite the hit in confidence, 72% of crypto investors are likely to recommend investing in cryptocurrency to family and friends. Additionally, 84% who have been in the market for over two years would recommend investing in cryptocurrency.
Investors who HODL (hold on for dear life) also see their persistence pay off. 78% who have been in the market for five years or more saw the value of their cryptocurrency portfolio increase. In contrast, 40% of those who have invested in cryptocurrency for less than a year reported losses.
This year, the IRCI delves deeper into cryptocurrency adoption across the three segments:
1. Female cryptocurrency investors on the rise – and outperforming the males
Data from IRCI 2021 to 2023 indicates that female investor growth is outpacing male user growth. 37% of females invested in cryptocurrency, up 7% since 2022.
At the same time, 76% of females reported making money or breaking even compared to 72% of males. Since the launch of IRCI in Singapore in 2021, this is the first time that females have reported outperforming their male counterparts.
Why do females invest in cryptocurrency?
61% of females who invest in cryptocurrency say they were influenced by family and friends when deciding to invest, compared to 48% of men. More women also cite ambition as to why they invest in cryptocurrency. 56% do so to diversify their portfolio, compared to 53% of men. 37% of women say they invest in cryptocurrency to get rich. 45% of females currently allocate more than $500 per month towards cryptocurrency.
When it comes to bullishness towards cryptocurrency, 24% of females have allocated more than 20% of their investment portfolio to this asset class. Over the next 12 months, 48% plan to further invest in their existing portfolio while 43% intend to diversify into other tokens, Defi or NFT projects.
2. Higher income fuels investment in cryptocurrencies
IRCI 2023 found that only 8% of investors who earn up to S$4,999 per month report investing S$1,000 or more per month in cryptocurrency. This contrasts with 53% of those earning over S$10,000 investing S$1,000 per month in cryptocurrency, showing that higher income fuels greater investment in cryptocurrency.
23% are investing more than S$1,000 per month in cryptocurrency, an increase of 4% from last year. The number of cryptocurrency owners investing S$10,000 or more has also increased by 1%. Overall, these signal positive awareness and growing interest in cryptocurrencies as a viable alternative asset class.
Where do (middle and) high-income earners stand?
Higher-income earners are likely to allocate more of their investment portfolio towards cryptocurrency. Overall, the higher-income groups say their cryptocurrency investments have made money or they broke even. The S$7,000 to S$9,000 income segment, who allocated the highest portion of their investment portfolio towards cryptocurrency, has 67% claiming to have made a profit. They are also the segment that is the most confident about the long-term viability of the cryptocurrency market.
There has also been a significant surge in the ownership of cryptocurrency among the 46 to 55-year-old age group (also known as "Gen X"), at 55% compared to 30% in 2022. As the Gen X group also reported the highest personal income, this indicates a growing number of people with a higher disposable income willing to invest in the cryptocurrency market.
3. Young investors cautiously optimistic
Despite the high awareness of cryptocurrency at 91%, the adoption rate among 18 to 25-year-old Singaporeans (also known as "Gen Z") is lower at 39%, down from 45% in 2022. 44% cited price volatility while 33% say they are not in a financial position to enter the cryptocurrency space.
Interestingly, while 56% of Gen Z have less than 5% of cryptocurrency in their investment portfolio, the highest among all age groups, 3% of Gen Z have 100% of their investment portfolio in cryptocurrency, which is also the highest among all age groups.
Gen Zs are savvy
This age group is highly influenced by the media, with 62% citing it as the reason for entering the market. Meanwhile, 45% are getting news from friends, family or colleagues, compared to 40% in 2022. 61% are using search engines to proactively seek out information, compared to 59% in 2022.
Overall, Gen Z remains one of the most optimistic groups when it comes to cryptocurrency. Only 2% want to sell out entirely, while 21% want to take a wait-and-see approach. Conversely, 62% want to use cryptocurrency to save for the future while 57% want to trade for financial gains.
"Results from IRCI 2023 show that crypto literacy among Singaporeans is becoming a priority when it comes to their investing journey. This bodes well for the industry as education helps safeguard investors from scams and other risks such as not fully understanding a project before investing in it. That said, investors must continue to stay informed through legitimate sources." Mr Perera concluded.
The full IRCI Singapore 2023 can be downloaded here.
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Notes to Editors
The Independent Research Cryptocurrency Index (IRCI) is an annual survey of around 1,500 Singapore residents conducted in partnership with Toluna, an independent consumer insights provider. IRCI Singapore is the only industry-led research that deep dives into Singapore's blockchain and cryptocurrency sector.
The survey is a cross-sectional and unbiased sample of everyday Singapore residents and is designed to represent the nation as a whole. This year marks the 3rd year of IRCI in Singapore, and the survey was conducted in February 2023.
About Independent Reserve
Founded in 2013, Independent Reserve is Singapore's trusted cryptocurrency exchange. Independent Reserve is the first exchange licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore to provide a secure platform for trading and investing in digital assets. With a focus on trust and safety, the exchange serves discerning traders and investors by offering competitive fees, advanced trading tools, and comprehensive educational resources. Adhering to the highest standards of governance, compliance, and security, Independent Reserve empowers institutions and individuals in Singapore to confidently navigate the world of cryptocurrencies.
 In its 3rd year, the 2023 Independent Reserve Cryptocurrency Index (IRCI) Singapore polled 1,500 everyday Singapore residents on their attitudes toward cryptocurrency
 Defined as Singaporeans, permanent residents and non-residents with a working visa
 A score of 100 indicates maximum awareness, optimism, trust and adoption of cryptocurrency, and 0 indicates a complete ignorance of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, and that no one has heard of Bitcoin
 Defined as 18 to 25-year-olds at the time of the survey
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SOURCE Independent Reserve