KARACHI: One in every 10 crypto investors in Pakistan prefers to receive or pay salaries in virtual currency, according to a survey conducted by KuCoin, a global cryptocurrency exchange.

Titled “Into the cryptoverse: understanding Pakistani crypto investors 2023,” the survey results released on Thursday showed there’s growing adoption and interest in digital assets in Pakistan — a potentially large market based on the Global Crypto Adoption Index by Chainalysis that ranked the country sixth in 2022.

Pakistani crypto investors are driven by diverse motivations like future aspirations (69 per cent), wealth accumulation (44pc), convenience (49pc) and value storage against currency depreciation (33pc).

The survey sheds light on different use cases for cryptocurrencies in Pakistan, with trading (46pc) being the most common. It was followed by HODLing (30pc), a practice that involves purchasing and holding cryptocurrency while refusing to sell it despite swings in price.

Other use cases include peer-to-peer money transfers (29pc) and buying non-fungible tokens (22pc), which are digital assets that are recorded on a blockchain and can only be transferred by the owner.

“This indicates the potential for mainstream adoption and the diverse ways in which crypto assets are being utilised in the country,” according to the commentary by KuCoin on the survey that was conducted by a third party on its behalf. The survey was conducted from May 5 to May 12 using SurveyMonkey Audience and involved 500 adult crypto investors.

Its demographics reveal that 66pc of crypto investors are male, with Gen Y (aged 26-39) being the largest age group of investors (47pc), followed by Gen Z (aged 18-25) with a share of 35pc.

The majority of crypto investors (66pc) have an annual household income of less than Rs5 million. Additionally, 30pc of new investors have begun investing in crypto within the past three months. “This suggests that as crypto adoption grows, a significant portion of crypto investors in Pakistan come from households with moderate to lower income levels, highlighting the accessibility and appeal of cryptos to a diverse range of income groups,” it noted.

A significant portion (40pc) of crypto investors in Pakistan have invested less than Rs30,000 or $100, the survey showed. “This is particularly evident among Gen Z (48pc) [as] it implies that a large number of investors, especially the younger generations, are starting with smaller investments, potentially due to limited financial resources or a cautious approach towards cryptocurrency,” it said.

The State Bank of Pakistan doesn’t recognise crypto assets, which are digital currencies in which transactions are verified and recorded by a decentralised system. Yet rough estimates by stakeholders suggest the annual trading volume of these digital assets in the country is somewhere between $18 billion to $25bn.

Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2023

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