Almost half of millennial millionaires have at least 25% of their wealth in cryptocurrency, having gotten in early on the phenomenon, according to the latest CNBC Millionaire Survey.
Bitcoin and other digital currencies have helped the younger generation reach millionaire status, as 47% of millennial millionaires have at least 25% of their wealth in crypto, and more than one-third have at least half their wealth in it, according to a survey of 750 millionaire investors.
"The younger investors jumped on it early when it was not as well known," Spectrem Group President George Walper, whose polling surveyed investors online in April and May, told CNBC. "The younger investors were more intellectually engaged with the idea even though it was new. Older investors and the boomers were largely saying 'Is this legit?'"
Cryptocurrencies use blockchain technology to process financial transactions, rewarding "miners" using their computer processing power to manage the blockchain with digital assets, such as Bitcoin. The technology helps skirt world currency controls and banks, making it popular with those seeking a decentralized store of value.
"We're already seeing the industry responding," Walper told CNBC. "We see more and more providers offering access to crypto investing. It's changing fast."
The older generation is less tied to the newfangled exchange system, as 83% of millionaires surveyed hold no crypto wealth, while just 10% have more than 10% of their wealth in it, according to the poll.
None of the baby boomer or older millionaires surveyed has more than 10% of their wealth in crypto, the poll found.
Nonfungible tokens (NFTs), ostensibly one of a kind digital collectors items, are an "overhyped fad," according to more than one-third of the millionaires surveyed. While most millionaires do not even know what an NFT is, two-third of millennial millionaires see NFTs as "the next big thing," the poll found.
It is yet another way the younger generation is able to stay a step ahead of older ones, as nearly half of millennial millionaires own NFTs, while 40% who do not say they have "considered" it. By contrast, 98% of baby boomer millionaires do not have any, nor are considering it.
"NFTs have only recently started to be part of the media coverage," Walper said. "So the older generations are further behind on the understanding."
The CNBC Millionaire Survey is an exclusive semi-annual summary of the investment attitudes and behaviors of investors with $1 million or more of investable assets. The survey of 750 The Spectrem Group survey of 750 investors with at least $1 million in investable assets was conducted in April and May, and semiannually, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
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