In 2022, you can’t turn on the TV, check your phone or even glance at a media outlet without a sharp reminder that we’re living in the developing era of cryptocurrency and NFTs. While older generations, including baby boomers, Gen X and even Millennials, are still suspicious or cautiously optimistic about the blockchain-based craze, Gen Z is diving in headfirst. You might even say the incoming fleet of newly-dubbed adults are obsessed, absorbed, and even hooked on the cryptosphere.
The high risk and uncertainty of reward warn many wise investors from investing in crypto. Cryptocurrency is one of the most volatile assets out there, meaning its value is not tied to any form of fiat (government regulated) currency, and the value of any digital asset could change drastically, even from one moment to the next. But even cautionary tales of significant losses incurred in seconds don’t seem to deter young traders from dipping their toes into the non-fungible waters or jumping in.
So why are Genz-ers so enmeshed in the world of crypto and NFTs? Are they making rash, ill-informed and impulsive investments or… are they on to something?
Let’s Play a Game
Gamification in the crypto universe is one of the biggest components of the surge in young investors.
Every kid dreams of being able to make living playing video games. For Gen-Z, “play-to-earn” games soared in popularity, thanks to pandemic lockdowns. For many early or first-time traders, their first sampling of digital assets comes through those games. These interactive gaming experiences reward players in the form of cryptocurrency or NFTs. Users can then use those assets within the game or even trade them in for cash or other forms of crypto.
Gaming and crypto only seem to be moving closer, almost magnetically, as the two platforms merge rewards, player interaction and applications.
Under the Influence
If you’re interested in getting started in crypto trading, NFTs, or even “play-to-earn” gaming, chances are high that you’ll find a YouTube tutorial giving you all the dirty details about getting started. From which platforms, dapps or blockchains to use to the hottest coins and tokens on the market, there’s a video about everything crypto—and often a snarky, savvy influencer behind them.
Financial influencers (yep, it’s a thing) on YouTube and TikTok might seem like something middle-aged bankers and investors drafted to stay in the loop and convince the kids to start building 401Ks. Surprisingly enough, these accounts are largely run by Gen-Z creators, and Gen-Z users account for a massive percentage of followers and viewers for these digital finance-based accounts.
How Far is Too Far?
For some crypto enthusiasts, small trades and NFTs featuring quirky cats make for a fun hobby or something to fill the time. But for many people, the cryptosphere has become their primary source of income or a full-time obsession.
Like video games and gambling all rolled into one, the realm of cryptocurrency has a level of addictive potential to it. Like the stock market, the crypto universe never stops, so you can check the value of your Bitcoin day or night, wrestle with swaps in the early morning hours, or purchase NFTs as you sit down for dinner.
However, as will many hobbies, pastimes and amusements, those ingrained in the blockchain merely choose to see their infatuation as a passion, shrugging off the suggestion of addiction and market volatility all in one breath.
As governments toy with the possibility of regulating cryptocurrency (and many question whether that’s even possible, given the decentralized nature of some crypto projects), it seems we’re at a crossroads economically, recreationally, technologically and even culturally. Fortunately, we have a brigade of apparently fearless leaders, ready to throw caution to the wind and take the fall for the sake of the thrill.