49% of Americans are Aware of NFTs: Pew Research Center

Nearly half of Americans have shown awareness of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), according to a survey by Washington-based think tank Pew Research Center.

Per the report:

“About half of U.S. adults (49%) say they have heard at least a little about non-fungible tokens, including 11% who have heard a lot. But just 2% of Americans say they have bought an NFT.”

Pew Research Center also pointed out that investment in and awareness of NFTs varied based on demographic factors, especially age and gender. The study noted:

“Men are 22 percentage points more likely than women to say they have heard of NFTs. And 69% of adults ages 18 to 29 say they have heard at least a little about NFTs, compared with 56% of those ages 30 to 49 and 36% of those 50 and older.”

The share of Americans who have heard about NFTs was also different based on income levels, ethnicity, and race. For instance, Asian Americans took the top spot regarding NFT awareness at 66%, followed by White, Hispanic, and Black adults at 49%, 48%, and 38%, respectively.


Despite a considerable number of U.S. adults depicting NFT awareness, nearly half of those who have invested in cryptocurrencies have aired their disappointment in crypto performance.


The report stated:

“Among the 16% of U.S. adults who say they have ever invested in, traded or used a cryptocurrency such as bitcoin or ether, 46% report their investments have done worse than they expected.”

Nevertheless, 15% of Americans stated that they were satisfied with their crypto investments because they had performed better than expected.


Pew Research Center undertook the survey between July 5 to 17 this year and sought to know why Americans were entering the crypto space. Top of the reasons entailed diversification and a way to make money.


A bar chart showing that about three-quarters of Americans who have invested in cryptocurrencies cite diversification and making money as reasons for doing so

Source: PewResearchCenter


Meanwhile, 15% of the Indian population aged 18 to 60 years has already set foot in the crypto space, according to a recent study by crypto exchange KuCoin. 

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US House Committee Chairman Seeks Insights into Crypto Retirement Plans

The US House Ways and Means Committee chairman has asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study cryptocurrency investment options in the major defined contribution (DC) plans.

 The DC plans include public retirement savings plans like 401(k) pension plans.

Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., sent a letter on Wednesday to GAO Comptroller General Gene L. Dodaro in which he expressed concern over public retirement savings plans offering crypto options to participants.

In his letter, Neal stated: “Recent announcements from major DC plan providers indicate that many employers who sponsor DC plans will have the option to allow their employees to invest in cryptocurrencies. However, concerns have arisen about the risks to older Americans’ retirement security of using retirement accounts to invest in cryptocurrencies due to their volatility and limited oversight.”

Neal asked GAO to determine the extent to which crypto investment options are provided by companies offering retirement savings plans.

The chairman also asked GAO to assess how such firms administer crypto pension investment options, like determining their valuation, the types, and levels of fees charged for such services, and safeguards.

The chairman further asked GAO to assess the oversight of crypto investment options in 401(k) plans by the relevant agencies, and guidance federal agencies offer to plan sponsors, participants, and beneficiaries about investing in crypto and examine the current restrictions on investments in cryptocurrency in 401(k) plans.

Crypto Retirement Accounts Rise

There is greater interest in digital assets. A significant number of pension firms are increasingly seeking to invest in cryptocurrencies.

In October last year, the Houston Firefighters’ Relief and Retirement Fund (HFRRF) made a $25 million investment in Bitcoin and Ether on its balance sheet.

In 2019, two Virginia Pension Funds – the Fairfax County Police Officers Retirement System (PORS) and Fairfax County Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) – invested $11 million and $10 million respectively in Bitcoin and further invested $50 million into the crypto in 2021.

The Department of Labor, which regulates 401(k) plans, has not explicitly banned the use of crypto as a 401(k)-investment option. In March, the regulator cautioned retirement plan managers to be judicious when it comes to cryptocurrencies.

Last month, Fidelity Investment, a major large retirement services platform, started offering a Bitcoin 401(k) product to users.

In June last year, a small 401(k) provider called ForUsAll started allowing consumers to allocate up to 5% of their retirement funds into cryptocurrency.

Meanwhile, Republicans on Capitol Hill have become open to crypto options in retirement plans. In May, Senator Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., introduced a bill that seeks to bar the Labor Department from issuing a regulation or guidance that limits the type of investments 401(k) plan participants can choose through a brokerage window.

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Biden’s Administration to Release Crypto Strategy on Digital Assets Next Month

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration is working on an initial government-wide strategy on digital assets for release next month, Bloomberg reported last Friday.

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The administration is also asking federal agencies to assess the risks and opportunities posed by the digital assets, people familiar with the matter have said. In addition, adding that senior officials have held several meetings on the plan which is being drafted as an executive order.

According to Bloomberg, the directive would place the White House in a central role overseeing efforts to set policies and regulate digital assets.

The administration’s focus has increased as the volatile crypto market has soared in value and popularity. 

However, industry experts see a lack of clarity on US crypto rules and believe that other government-backed coins could undermine the value of the dollar.

According to resources, on January 21, 2022, reported by Blockchain.News, the US Federal Reserve said that the introduction of an official digital version of the U.S. dollar could benefit Americans but it may also potentially affect financial stability and privacy.

The report also stated that although the Fed’s long-awaited discussion paper did not make any policy recommendations nor did it give a clear signal for the launch of a central bank digital currency (CBDC), it did provide an insight saying that the digital US dollar could provide Americans with more payments options that are speedier.

According to the Fed, challenges surrounding the digital dollar include maintaining financial stability and creating an ecosystem that would “complement existing means of payment.” 

Prior to the introduction of the digital dollar, other obstacles that need to be tackled by the central bank are major policy questions such as ensuring a CBDC does not violate Americans’ privacy and for the government to maintain its “ability to combat illicit finance.”

Meanwhile, the world’s second-largest economy China has witnessed fast growth in its CBDC.

The e-CNY is growing at a fast pace as data released by Zou Lan, director of the Peoples Bank of China (PBoC) financial markets department revealed the new legal tender has inked a total of $13.68 billion in transactions since public trials began, Blockchain.News reported citing CNBC.

As per CNBC’s report, the performance figures released by the PBoC also showed that the total number of citizens that are now using the digital yuan has topped 261 million per a CNBC report.

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Ex-SEC Chair Jay Clayton Says He’s a “Huge Believer” in Crypto

Former Chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Jay Clayton expressed his trust in the nascent digital currency world saying he is a “huge believer” in the technology underpinning the industry.

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“I am a huge believer in this technology,” says Jay Clayton on crypto. “The efficiency benefits in the financial system and otherwise from tokenization are immense.”

This comment was made while speaking in an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box and it came as a shock to many seeing how Clayton treated the digital currency ecosystem under his tenure. The SEC, at the very tail end of his tenure as SEC Chairman last December, filed a damning $1.3 billion lawsuit against Ripple for selling XRP coins as securities. The case is still ongoing.

When asked about his take on the matter, Clayton refused to comment, saying the facts are before law enforcement. 

Clayton was appointed by former US President Donald Trump in 2017 and he served until 2020, a time in which the SEC rejected many applications for a Bitcoin or crypto-focused Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) product. Clayton’s successor, Gary Gensler has finally approved a Bitcoin Futures linked ETF, further highlighting the likely bias Clayton has against such products.

However, Clayton’s perspective towards crypto seems to have broadened since joining One River Digital Asset Management as an Advisor earlier this year. On the Squawk Box show, Clayton shared his thoughts on how crypto should be regulated.

“Crypto is a wide variety of products, with a wide variety of functions, and the rules of our financial system are clear and long-standing. If you are raising capital for a project, you have to register your capital raising with SEC. If you are trading securities it has to be on a registered venue, but there are many crypto sectors like stablecoins that are not securities and outside of SEC purview.”

In all, Clayton believes digital currencies should be implemented but in a systematic approach.

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Brad Garlinghouse Predicts Ripple-SEC Feud to End by 2022

The ongoing court case between the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and blockchain payments firm Ripple Labs Inc is likely to close next year, drawing on the optimism of the firm’s CEO, Brad Garlinghouse.

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Speaking in an interview with CNBC, Garlinghouse said the case is making “good progress” as the tides seem to be in the company’s favour.

“We’re seeing pretty good progress despite a slow-moving judicial process,” he told CNBC’s Dan Murphy. “Clearly we’re seeing good questions asked by the judge. And I think the judge realizes this is not just about Ripple, this will have broader implications.”

The company was charged with a lawsuit worth $1.3 billion on the grounds that it was involved in the sales of XRP as financial securities. Ripple has argued that these claims were false, accusing the SEC of being guilty of regulatory clarity, a position gleaned from the fact that both Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) are classified as commodities in the US.

The lawsuit has had a broad impact on Ripple to a point that its primary American partner, MoneyGram, had to make an exit as the case got heated during the onset. The XRP coin has also been affected as exchanges delisted the coin which now ranks as the 7th largest digital currency atop a $49.7 billion market cap.

The bright side of the ongoing lawsuit according to Garlinghouse is that a regulatory awakening is now being brokered, a trend that is growing beyond the US to provide comprehensive regulations to guard the growing crypto industry. He noted that countries like the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Singapore, and Switzerland are examples of countries showing “leadership” when it comes to regulating digital currencies.

“In general, the direction of travel is very positive,” Garlinghouse said.

While there are countries with a positive stance on the growing crypto space, others like China, Nigeria, and India have maintained a somewhat negative stance for the better part of the year.

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