Bitcoin has a huge appeal to millennials who dream of a cashless future, and now they’re putting savings into Bitcoin rather than traditional funds.
The digital currency has already turned early adopters into millionaires, been marketed by Ashton Kutcher and Paris Hilton, and stands for everything that millennials are jaded about in terms of traditional markets and investments.
Foundations of old finance shaken
While those who are using and involved in Bitcoin still make up less than a percent of the population, there’s a growing number of young people in the millennial generation who are turning away from traditional financial empires.
If this trend continues, it could spell the eventual end of the banker, as they go the same way as the travel agent and the library.
Roshaan Khan, a 20-year-old senior at Virginia Commonwealth University, is one of those millennials. Khan recently invested in Bitcoin and Ethereum — another form of cryptocurrency — and is encouraging his friends to do the same.
“All of my net worth is in cryptocurrencies, because I see them as the best way to escalate my ability to be financially secure and pay off my student loans,” Khan said. “I like the idea of decentralization, the fact that there’s a lot less corruption and political ties. That idea appeals to me … Not having to go through banks. Having financial control over our lives again.”
No bankers go to jail
Andreas M. Antonopoulos, the author of Mastering Bitcoin and The Internet of Money, is familiar with this mistrust. The idea of Internet money makes sense in today’s world and appeals to the new generation, but more than that, it is a system that has not betrayed millennials.
“When you talk to millennials who have been thoroughly disappointed by every single social institution -- the government, the church, the politics, the parties -- they can’t trust anyone anymore,” Antonopoulos said.
“They remember 2008, because it was the first big crash they’ve had, and many millennials have been unable to find work. They saw no bankers go to jail.”
In control of investments
There is still some way to go until even the most hardened millennial is totally free of traditional banking and money institutions, but they can control their own future in relation to investments.
“It feels better to run my own savings plan by investing and reinvesting in new technology,” said Emil Thorsplass, a 24-year-old musician from Norway:
“I still have my regular pension fund and my bills still have to be paid through a bank account, but cryptocurrency investments have become a central part of savings for me.”
Fear of volatility?
Thorsplass adds, in relation to a question that always crops up with regards to investing in Bitcoin, how he deals with the volatility.
“I don't get very nervous about the volatility anymore,” Thorsplass, who’s made close to $5,000 since investing in 2015, said. “I think that when you are in your twenties, with limited responsibility, investing most of what you have into something isn't that dramatic compared to what it might be for more established adults. I'm used to taking risks, so when I have a gut feeling I like to pull the trigger.”