Global payments provider Checkout.com debuted its Demystifying Crypto: Shedding light on the adoption of digital currencies for payments in 2022 report, pointing to increasingly positive trends in the adoption of and appetite for using digital currencies for eCommerce.
The comprehensive report independently surveyed a total of 30,000 consumers and 3,000 merchants in 11 countries including the UAE, looking at behaviors and sentiments regarding commercial activity using cryptocurrencies.
According to the findings, crypto is rapidly gaining in appeal among younger demographics in particular, with 40% of 18-35 year old consumers globally wanting and planning to use cryptocurrencies to pay for goods or services within the next year.
That’s up from less than 30% last year, and marks a substantial shift in attitude from digital currencies being seen as solely an investment vehicle to a means of doing business on a regular basis.
In the UAE, over 54% of 18-35 year old consumers either hold or plan to hold crypto assets in the next 12 months.
This increased consumer openness to cryptocurrency is driven by broader appetite for more convenient, safer payment methods.
That is then matched by more merchants and third parties providing the underlying infrastructure to support those methods.
Within the UAE specifically, 54% of those aged 18-35 believe that cryptocurrency should be used as Central Bank Digital Currency, not just as an investment asset.
As a result, crypto is already having a material impact on merchants and the market overall.
More than US$2.5 billion worth of crypto payments were made through Visa’s crypto-backed card in the first fiscal quarter of 2022 alone.
And those merchants that embraced cryptocurrency payments experienced net-new growth, with 82% saying those options allowed them to rapidly attract new customers and reach new demographics.
Almost 70% of the global merchants surveyed believe that the speed with which crypto payments can be made and settled has the potential to revolutionise their business models – with over 80% of those merchants with existing crypto payment options saying it was easier to settle than using fiat currencies.
“We believe this is the largest consumer survey of its kind, and the findings present a clear evolution of consumer attitude towards cryptocurrencies around the world but also here in the Middle East. After a transformational few years across the region, digital commerce is evolving at pace. This is a legitimate transition from the early adoption phase to one that’s more practical, pragmatic and positive overall,”
said Mo Ali Yusuf, Regional Manager for Checkout.com in the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan (MENAP).
“This transition means there’s a groundswell in demand for fintech companies that can provide easy-to-deploy solutions and services to get merchants up and running with crypto payment options—and to then help them optimize the process over time. We expect that trend to only get stronger over the coming year as we bridge more services into Web3.”
Consumer attitudes and trust
Even with a solid technology foundation underpinning crypto, the momentum can still be volatile. To date, vendors and merchants have made a considerable effort to continue building trust in these services.
And the rising acceptance of crypto at a consumer level has started to influence the way larger corporates are working with digital currencies.
According to the Checkout.com report, over a third of survey participants—including CFOs and corporate treasurers—are increasingly interested in holding stablecoins on their balance sheets.
They see this as a way to use decentralised finance for treasury management.
Some are going as far as planning to pay vendors and employees in stablecoins—primarily in response to demand from those audiences, with 51% of companies reporting that at least some employees had expressed an interest in being paid in crypto.
More broadly, new communities of content creators, gamers, and gig workers are embracing crypto. Almost half (46%) of online creatives say their fans and audiences have sent them digital currencies to support their work.
These communities are stretch-testing what is possible when it comes to the use of tokens and crypto, a preview of what’s to come in the mainstream.
One other likely scenario held by 65% of C-level executives is that Web3 will materially change the B2C dynamic as consumers increasingly become producers.
This market is expected to be significant, with the gaming economy forecasted to hit US$260 billion by 2025, and the size of the creator economy hitting US$104 billion–and expected to rise.
“The Middle East is home to a flourishing digital payments ecosystem today, empowered by the combination of progressive regulation & digital strategies, fintech entrepreneurship, and changing consumer behavior. Checkout.com sees the potential for cryptocurrency to not only transform the way people transact, but also to potentially reinvent the dynamics of the entire digital economy,”