According to “experts”, millennials are more likely to be attracted to invest in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. This seems obvious since they have grown up in a largely digital world, but are they taking dangerous risks with their savings or have they got into the next world-changing technology early?
Millennials Less Averse to Technological Innovation
In a report by U.K. newspaper, The Telegraph, it is claimed that 37 per cent of those under the age of 35 have a plan to invest in digital assets at some point in the future. Meanwhile, a third have already invested and plan to take up bigger positions at a later date. These figures come courtesy of the wealth manager Rathbones.
As you’d expect from a generally conservative, establishment-praising paper like the Telegraph, the report is largely focused around the risks these youngsters are taking with the future. Various “expert” opinions are put forward about the nature of Bitcoin investors and the younger demographic that seems more receptive to the ideals of free (as in freedom) money.
One such source cited by the newspaper is Robert Szechenyi of Rathbones. Szechenyi states that younger people are more likely to be drawn in by the “Bitcoin craze” than their older, more risk averse counterparts.
Meanwhile, behavioural scientist Jessica Exton claims that young people have more appetite for risk and were more prepared for technological innovations to impact their lives. Rather than read between the lines of Exton’s statement, the Telegraph has twisted the narrative to suggest that younger investors are being duped into believing that Bitcoin is the future of money and that their investment would continue to grow.
However, contrary to the view pedalled by the publication is the testimonial the author has chosen to cite. Lucy Barnes, 23, is a young investor interested in the technological and societal implications of digital currency. Rather than playing fast and loose with her future, Barnes made a modest investment in Ether and Litecoin in July 2017.
Evidently, Barnes took heed of the warnings not to invest more than she could afford to lose, since the total she decided to use to buy into crypto was just £200. This has since quadrupled in value and has returned to near to the original value. However, Barnes is still reluctant to sell. For the bulk of her investing, Barnes favours a Lifetime ISA.
Despite being used to illustrate an article all about reckless cryptocurrency investments from youngsters, Barnes’s investment is hardly going to financially ruin her in the same that the article’s title implies. She states:
“They will never be my main investment, but I am keen to look at the other cryptocurrencies and would like to invest in them more at some point.”
Rather than muse over the possibility that millennials, with their technological backgrounds, might be better placed to judge the potential impact of cryptocurrencies, the publication paints the tired old narrative that Bitcoin and other digital assets are tools for speculation only. They cite the damning words of Patrick Connolly of Chase de Vere to support this:
“You are only likely to invest in cryptocurrencies if you believe the hype, but the vast majority of people who invest in anything because they believe the hype end up sorely disappointed and heavily out of pocket.”
Yet despite the article’s click-grabbing title of “Young savers at risk of lasting harm from ‘Bitcoin craze’, experts warn”, no examples of youngsters making overly risky, speculative investments in Bitcoin were actually cited. Sounds like a classic case of mainstream media scaremongering, to be honest.
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