Just as the older generation has had to get its head around the hi-tech world of cryptocurrencies and how they work, so the tech itself is introducing younger folk, like millennials and the newly-emerging Gen Z to online activities they may never have considered otherwise.
One key area that cryptos bring to the younger generation is investing, either as a long-term vehicle or as part of a shorter-term trading strategy.
But other services that cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are opening up include online gaming and sports betting on new platforms. And innovative uses for the tech, including secure document storage or digital IDs are coming on stream every month.
Investing for a New Generation
There’s something about how Bitcoin works that feels entirely natural to tech-savvy millennials. They get how you can have a real-value currency without it existing physically anywhere, and they understand the ledger-based blockchain that keeps every transaction secure and verifiable.
The know-how, together with recent wild rises (and falls) in the better-known currencies like Bitcoin are attracting ever-increasing numbers of young people.
According to a recent survey, 30% of those in the 18-34 age bracket would prefer to speculate in Bitcoin than
traditional investment methods like stocks and shares, Government bonds and the like.
With this interest increasing all the time, more millennials than ever are looking at trading platforms offering the chance to buy into Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin. However, while notions of making huge gains are attractive, just like those who jumped on the Bitcoin bandwagon early and cashed in when each coin was worth nearly $20,000, younger people still need to understand how to trade correctly, monitoring their risk and not overexposing themselves.
And just because the value of Bitcoin went so high before it doesn’t mean you can necessarily invest again now and watch the money pile up once more. Will hype or fundamental value drive the market?
While no one knows for sure which way the market will go, the relatively new crypto opportunity has bridged the gap between older, more traditional investors and the new generation like never before.
Cryptocurrencies Drive Online Gaming and Gambling
There’s never been a lack of interest in online gaming, especially among younger people, and also in gambling for those of legal age, and the use of cryptocurrency and blockchain as a foundation for these platforms is taking off.
Millennials understand how buying and selling in cryptos offer far more flexibility and saves money while being 100% secure and discreet. When making transactions online, using bullet-proof blockchain technology is a huge plus.
It’s a concept not lost on sectors such as online casinos and sportsbooks, who can offer fast and completely secure transactions precisely because they offer deposits in cryptocurrencies, based on the public blockchain.
With recent YouGov research showing, 44% of millennials believe cryptocurrency will be widely accepted everywhere within ten years, it’s easy to see why so many online sectors are looking to enter the market.
Regarding gaming, the industry has moved on at pace over recent years. Where the older generations grew up with one-person games, today’s millennials are used to multi-player epics. It’s a world where gamers on games like Fortnite can not just “level-up”, but make in-game purchases. Virtual and real currencies are used, and suddenly the gamer’s online identity and account become valuable.
Video game producers are now serious about moving their tech on to the blockchain, where purchases for new skins, rewards and virtual weapons can all become, well, bullet-proof.
New Uses for Blockchain Tech That Millennials Will Embrace
So far, we’ve looked at how cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology has already bridged the gap between younger people and older generations.
But there is a whole range of uses for blockchain technology in particular that younger people are sure to adopt; including areas that they currently feel are alien to them.
These sectors would be:
• Digital voting. Up to a few years ago, the idea of people registering and voting online would be met with accusations of fraud. But blockchain tech provides immutable proof that records have not been tampered with in any way. Perhaps this is the ideal way to persuade young people that their vote does count again?
• Property, land or motor vehicle ownership documents. If documents are encrypted, and the subsequent
hashes stored on the blockchain, then this provides tamper-proof evidence of the original document. It also means you don’t risk losing anything!
• Retail loyalty reward programs. Imagine a large retail chain tokenizing their reward program? The scheme could be tailored to young people and could even include some element of gamification. Perfect for getting the new generation returning to the store.
• Young people never consider making their will. But if the process was simple online, and you could encrypt and store the document on the blockchain, then perhaps they might be motivated to do so.
• With so many of the younger generation involved in creative arts like music, photography and writing, it won’t be long before they look to secure ownership of their work by “storing it” on the blockchain, which provides immutable proof of the original content AND when it was “published”.
• Timestamped photographic proof. Return your holiday hire car in perfect condition? Photograph it before handing over the keys and upload the snaps straight where they can be encrypted and stored on the blockchain. No unscrupulous rental company can claim you caused non-existent damage ever again.
Bringing us together
Just from this brief examination, it’s clear that the emergence of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology is introducing younger generations, currently the millennials but soon Gen Z, to sectors of business and logistics that were previously the domain of those much older.
As the technology evolves, so the world gets smaller – and our virtual money and what we do with it becomes more secure than ever.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.