Nearly half of millennial millionaires have at least 25% of their wealth in cryptocurrencies, as the crypto boom continues to create wealth for young, early adopters, according to the CNBC Millionaire Survey.
Some 47% of millennial millionaires surveyed have more than 25% of their wealth in cryptocurrencies, according to the survey of 750 investors with at least $1 million in investible assets. More than a third of millennial millionaires have at least half their wealth in crypto.
The results highlight a new generational divide in wealth creation from crypto, with younger investors who spotted the trend early on able to earn vast fortunes and grow their existing investments from the surge in the prices of bitcoin, ether and other digital currencies.
Older millionaires are far less likely to believe in or invest in crypto. Fully 83% of American millionaires have none of their wealth in crypto, and only 1 in 10 keeps more than 10% of their wealth in crypto assets, according to the survey. None of the baby boomer millionaires or older generations has more than 10% of their wealth in crypto.
“The younger investors jumped on it early when it was not as well known,” said George Walper, president of Spectrem Group, which conducted the online Millionaire Survey with CNBC in April and May. “The younger investors were more intellectually engaged with the idea even though it was new. Older investors and the boomers were largely saying ‘Is this legit?'”
The importance of crypto to young millionaires could shift the wealth management industry, as private banks, brokers and wealth management firms scramble to cater to a new, crypto-heavy clientele. In the coming years, the key to attracting the next generation of wealthy clients could be more about crypto than traditional stocks, bonds, private equity and hedge funds.
“We’re already seeing the industry responding,” Walper said. ‘We see more and more providers offering access to crypto investing. It’s changing fast.”
The generational divide among millionaires is even more stark when it comes to nonfungible tokens. Most millionaires say they don’t know what an NFT is, and more than a third say they are an “overhyped fad.” Yet two-thirds of millennial millionaires say NFTs “are the next big thing.”
Nearly half of millennial millionaires surveyed own NFTs, and 40% say they don’t currently own an NFT but have “considered” it. That compares with 98% of baby boomer millionaires who say they don’t own any NFTs and aren’t considering it.
“NFTs have only recently started to be part of the media coverage,” Walper said. “So the older generations are further behind on the understanding.”