2019 might be remembered in the crypto history books as the year where awareness of the asset class and technology really went mainstream.
At Zabo, we talk to a lot of founders, product managers and developers in financial services who are developing or evaluating a cryptocurrency product. Many ask about timing or how to prioritize crypto within their broader product roadmap. Fortunately, excellent recent research has emerged to help us answer this question with data.
We've analyzed multiple research reports on cryptocurrency awareness from the last 24 months. The findings are clear: cryptocurrency has mainstream attention, making now the time to start building product.
(Very) High cryptocurrency awareness
Your grandma might not have heard of Bitcoin, but according to research, the vast majority of people have.
YouGov's September 2018 research  found that 79% of Americans are familiar with at least one kind of cryptocurrency.
Separate research from Harris Poll (April 2019) found that 89% of people had heard of Bitcoin, up from 77% in October 2017. This high awareness was remarkably consistent across age ranges:
What does this mean from a product perspective?
It means that if you are building or planning a crypto product, the vast majority of your users are primed with awareness. You would be harder pressed to find users who haven't heard of cryptocurrency in 2019.
Bitcoin brand dominance
Which cryptocurrencies do people actually know about? According to research, Bitcoin is the dominant brand.
YouGov found that of people who were aware of cryptocurrency, 71% knew about Bitcoin. The second most known was Ether/Ethereum at a distant 13%:
Similar Coinbase research  found that when given a list of cryptocurrencies, the majority of Americans (58%) say they have heard of Bitcoin.
Why is Bitcoin dominant? Bitcoin created the category of cryptocurrency and has been around for much longer than alternatives. Bitcoin is to cryptocurrency what Coke is to soda - many people see Bitcoin as the iconic brand for the whole category.
Millennials & Gen Z - the crypto generations
Across all research we surveyed, those aged between 18-34 consistently show greater affinity for cryptocurrency than older generations.
YouGov found that 44% of those aged 18-34 thought cryptocurrency would become widely accepted in the next 10 years, compared to 34% for those aged 35 - 54 and 29% for those aged 55+:
Harris Poll found similar results, with 48% of those aged 18-34 agreeing that it is likely people will be using Bitcoin in the next 10 years:
A very similar Millennial affinity trend could be seen in desire to purchase Bitcoin, with 42% of Millennials saying they were very or somewhat likely to buy Bitcoin in the next 5 years (Harris Poll). 18% of Millennials already owned Bitcoin at the time of the survey.
What attracts Millennials and Gen Z to cryptocurrency? One likely factor is that they are digitally native, enabling them to easily appreciate digitally native money. Expect cryptocurrency affinity to only increase as Millennials become the core part of the workforce and other digitally native generations come in behind them.
Building product in a crypto world
How can this research be applied to your own product efforts? We would distill the research findings into the following guidance:
- The time to build is now. Your users know about cryptocurrency, expect it to grow in importance and expect to own/buy it. This is especially true for those users aged 18-34.
- Lead with Bitcoin. For many people, cryptocurrency = Bitcoin, and this will likely be the case for a while. Bitcoin is the most known and trusted brand.
- Get started, then evolve after. Some own crypto, many want to buy it and others are just getting interested. Prepare for all scenarios by offering features such as enabling your users to link their existing wallets to your app. This lowers the resource cost of integration and also gets your product in the conversation.
How Zabo can help launch your first crypto product
With Zabo, you can integrate any crypto wallet or exchange account into your application in an afternoon using just a few lines of code. By leveraging Zabo and your users' existing wallets, you save hundreds of hours of technical work and gather key data insights that inform your own product efforts.
Linking to third party crypto wallets can also avoid the compliance and legal risks associated with building your own cryptocurrency infrastructure. Using Zabo's API to link existing wallets is the easiest, most risk-free way to offer a first crypto product.
Get started at zabo.com and sign up for free API access.
Want to learn more? Contact us.
-  79% of Americans are familiar with at least one kind of cryptocurrency (Ballard, Sep 2018, YouGov)
-  Bitcoin is a Demographic Mega-Trend: Data Analysis (Bogart, Apr 2019, Harris Poll).
-  The United States of Crypto (Coinbase, June 2019)