OSC survey explores Canadians crypto ownership and knowledge

For Immediate Release OSC

TORONTO – The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) today released the results of an investor survey on crypto assets that found 13% of Canadians currently own crypto assets or crypto funds.

Overall, half of Canadians surveyed could accurately define crypto assets, but most lacked a working knowledge of the practical, legal and regulatory aspects of owning them. The average crypto asset knowledge score was just 37%.

The survey also found 38% of Canadians believe crypto assets currently play a key role in the financial system.

“The data from our crypto asset study provides the OSC with valuable insights about Canadians who are — and who are not — investing in crypto,” said Tyler Fleming, Director of the Investor Office at the OSC. “As a responsible regulator, the OSC is monitoring the rise in crypto assets in Canada and around the world. The survey helps us better understand Canadians’ knowledge of the risks and rules, and their motivation for investing in these assets.”

Almost half of those surveyed do not plan to buy crypto assets in the next 12 months, while 31% of Canadians do plan to buy within that time frame.

Crypto buyers’ reasons for purchasing included:

  • wanting to make more money compared to a traditional savings account. 
  • believing in the value of the technology.
  • wanting a speculative investment or gamble.
  • wanting to diversify their portfolio. 

While more than three-quarters of people surveyed had never invested in crypto assets, there were interesting insights about those who had invested. Crypto owners:

  • were more likely to be investors who own investment funds, stocks and other types of securities.
  • had higher general financial literacy and knowledge about crypto compared to non-crypto asset buyers.
  • were more aggressive in their approach to investing, and more comfortable with risk than non-crypto investors.
  • were also more likely to have been targeted by crypto advertising and feel it motivated them to purchase.

The OSC study also found crypto asset owners were more likely to be:

  • male (67%)
  • between the ages of 24-44 (59%)
  • more formally educated (49% have an undergraduate degree or higher)
  • employed full-time (67%) with a somewhat higher income (37%: $100k+ annually)

Crypto purchasers relied mostly on word of mouth as a source of information (41%) before purchasing. Others considered posts by social media influencers (21%), consulted an expert in blockchain technology (20%) or relied on their financial advisor (15%). Almost three quarters (74%) of those who own crypto assets weren’t recommended to buy them by their financial advisor and most never even discussed the option. 

The online survey of 2,360 Canadians was conducted from April 26 to May 10, 2022. This included 2,185 Canadians from the general population, and an oversampling of 175 crypto owners to ensure at least 500 crypto owners were included in the survey.

Learn more about crypto assets at GetSmarterAboutCrypto.ca.

All investments have some level of risk, and crypto assets are no different. Always check to see if the platform you plan to use is registered. The OSC has a regularly updated list of crypto asset trading platforms registered in Ontario.

To protect yourself from unqualified or fraudulent individuals trying to sell you an investment or give you investment advice, visit Check Before You Invest to search the Canadian Securities Administrators’ National Registration.

For more financial education resources, investors can visit GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca or sign-up for the Investor News newsletter.

The mandate of the OSC is to provide protection to investors from unfair, improper or fraudulent practices, to foster fair, efficient and competitive capital markets and confidence in the capital markets, to foster capital formation, and to contribute to the stability of the financial system and the reduction of systemic risk. Investors are urged to check the registration of any persons or company offering an investment opportunity and to review the OSC investor materials available at http://www.osc.ca.

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