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Saving >$74 billion, as a start: How Crypto makes everyday finance fairer, cheaper, and easier

Tl;dr: Our current financial system costs regular Americans too much, takes too long, and is too hard to access. According to Coinbase’s latest State of Crypto Report, frustration over fees alone is the top reason for discontent with the system. In 2022, consumers could have saved at least $74 billion in credit card transaction fees by using blockchain technology instead, amounting to an average of $600 per household. At least three in five Americans want updates to the system that make it cheaper, faster, and more accessible, and the top reasons why they see potential in crypto are its ease of use, affordability, and fully digital lack of middlemen.

By Coinbase

Company

, February 7, 2024

, 4min read time

Version 3

Our current financial system costs regular Americans too much, takes too long, and is too hard to access. Frustration over fees in particular – having to pay middlemen in order to move and use their own hard-earned money – is the top driver of discontent with the entire system. In 2022, Americans could have saved, at a minimum, about $74 billion in credit card transaction fees alone*, amounting to an average of $600 per household, and merchants spent more than $126 billion on fees to process credit card transactions. By using blockchain technology instead, they could have paid next to nothing.

Coinbase’s latest State of Crypto Report, using new research conducted for Coinbase by The Block, details how apps for legacy financial institutions, and even payment apps based on these institutions, keep the system unfairly expensive, hard to access, and mired in delays. Users of the system, both consumers and small businesses alike, must pay, then wait, then pay again as their money wends its way past intermediaries who add fees and time to the process. New polling finds that at least three in five Americans want updates to the current system that make it cheaper, faster, and easier to access, and the top reasons why they see potential in crypto are in line: its ease of use, affordability, and streamlined, fully digital, legacy-free nature.

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Consumers who have grown up with the internet – and there are more of them every day – also expect to be able to transact at the speed of the internet, globally, anytime of day or night, without overcoming hurdles to participate or waiting on business hours or cross-border delays. 

Unsurprisingly, these sentiments are strongest among younger generations. Americans aged 18-40 are much more likely to own crypto than older Americans, and by wide margins, they’re more likely to believe crypto can make the system cheaper, faster, and fairer. But in an era of little bipartisan agreement on any issue, self-identified Democrats and Republicans agree within 4 percentage points that crypto and blockchain could make the financial system cheaper, faster, and easier to access. The future of money is here.

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This is Coinbase’s third State of Crypto Report. Our Q3 2023 report on crypto adoption by age and access found that more than half of Americans aged 18-40 don’t or only sometimes use the traditional financial system, and our Q2 2023 report on corporate adoption found that more than half of Fortune 100 companies are developing blockchain initiatives to stay competitive. This series aims to educate the public about the role crypto can play in updating the financial system for the benefit of consumers and businesses alike. At a time of broad agreement that the current system is too expensive, slow, and hard to access, the findings lay out how crypto can help update the system to be cheaper, faster, and easier for everyone to use.

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