Bitcoin / Marharyta Marko

Canadians’ knowledge of cryptocurrencies remains limited, a survey from the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) found. 

While half of Canadians (51%) said they could accurately define cryptoassets, the regulator’s 2022 Crypto Asset Survey revealed that most lacked confidence in their understanding of the practical, legal or regulatory dimensions of cryptoassets. The average cryptoasset knowledge score was 37%.

Just over one in 10 (13%) respondents said they currently own cryptoassets or crypto funds. According to the study, 8% of respondents used to own them but no longer do, and almost half (49%) said they have no intention of buying cryptoassets in the next 12 months. 

Among those who have never owned cryptoassets or crypto funds, concerns about the amount of risk involved was one of the main reasons they decided against purchasing them. Over half of Canadians (56%) said a more limited tolerance for risk has impacted their receptiveness to cryptoassets. 

However, 38% of respondents said they believe cryptoassets play a key role in the financial system, with 31% of Canadians saying they plan to buy cryptoassets in the next year. 

According to the study, current cryptoasset owners had higher general financial literacy (57% average score) and knowledge about crypto (61% average score). 

Demographically, they were more likely to be men (67%), between the ages of 25-44 (59%), have children (40%), be employed full time (67%), and have attained a higher level of education (49% have an undergraduate degree or higher).

Almost three-quarters (74%) of respondents who own cryptoassets didn’t receive recommendations to buy the assets from their financial advisor and most (60%) never even discussed the option. 

Those who have purchased crypto said they relied mostly on word of mouth as a source of information (41%), while social media influencers (21%) and consulting an expert in blockchain technology (20%) were also common. Only 15% said they relied on their financial advisor. 

“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. “The survey helps us better understand Canadians’ knowledge of the risks and rules, and their motivation for investing in these assets.”

The online survey of 2,360 Canadians was conducted from April 26 to May 10. It 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.