Original author: Consensys, YouGov
Original translation: Frank, Foresight News
Consensys and YouGov conducted a global Web3 awareness survey in 15 countries across major continents. This multinational study aims to provide people’s perspectives on cryptocurrency, NFTs, Web3, blockchain, and metaverse, and to understand people’s feelings about the current internet and whether the recent bankruptcy of centralized cryptocurrency financial companies has affected their awareness of the Web3 industry.
The survey was conducted between April 26 and May 18, 2023. YouGov interviewed a total of 15,158 people from 15 countries online and conducted a survey of 32 questions on representative population samples in each country. These countries include Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, South Korea, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam.
In addition, the data collected from this global Web3 awareness survey was weighted by gender and region to ensure representativeness of the national population in each surveyed country, and was analyzed comprehensively by YouGov consultants.
While global awareness of cryptocurrency is high, awareness of Web3 is much lower.
92% of the respondents globally said they had heard of cryptocurrency. However, there are differences between countries, with Nigeria, South Africa, and Brazil leading the way. Despite global awareness of cryptocurrency, only 8% of the respondents consider themselves very familiar with the concept of Web3. This highlights the disconnect between public opinion on Web3 and its potential as a solution to privacy, identity, and digital ownership issues on today’s internet.
Desire for more ownership and data privacy
Although many respondents are unfamiliar with Web3, many support the basic concept of Web3. 50% of people think they have added value to the internet, and 67% claim they should own what they create on the internet.
In addition, only 38% of global respondents believe their contributions are adequately rewarded. Concerns about data privacy are also prominent, as 83% of respondents prioritize data privacy, 70% believe they should have the right to share the profits obtained by centralized internet companies from data, and 79% hope to have better control over their online identities. These survey results emphasize the importance of helping people understand how Web3 empowers them with more control over their identities and online ownership, while also providing users with greater privacy protection and sharing the profits currently obtained by companies through user network activities.
When exploring the behavior patterns of different countries, a notable divergence is the more conservative and cautious attitude of European countries towards cryptocurrency. This skepticism is widely seen in Europe as an effective precautionary measure to prevent the public from being influenced by potential financial fraud, money laundering, and excessive speculation. This stance is also evident in some Asian countries, such as Japan and South Korea, where cryptocurrency is largely seen as closely associated with negative concepts such as fraud, money laundering, and speculation.
However, the situation is completely different when observing other regions around the world, such as most countries in Southeast Asia, South America, and Africa. These places exhibit a more positive and open attitude towards cryptocurrencies and the broader Web3 field. In these countries, cryptocurrencies are seen as a more likely driver of future currency development, strengthening digital asset ownership, and a potential tool to replace traditional financial ecosystems. Especially in some countries, such as Argentina and Nigeria, where the local currency has long been unstable, cryptocurrencies are seen as an important means to access global capital and hedge against inflation, providing citizens with more economic security and development opportunities.
Therefore, we can see that although cryptocurrencies are being promoted and accepted by more and more people worldwide, there are significant differences in the understanding, positioning, and attitudes towards cryptocurrencies in different countries. This divergence not only reflects the different economic conditions and financial environments of each country but also reflects the inconsistency in the development stage and maturity of the global financial market. At the same time, it also provides diversified possibilities and challenges for the further development of cryptocurrencies globally in the future.
From “Users” to “Builders”: Paradigm Shift
The survey results show that there is a gap in people’s understanding of whether the internet can better control data and identity, whether it can share profits with creators more fairly, and whether Web3 can be seen as a potential solution. Many respondents believe that they are creating value online but are not being fairly rewarded. We see that internet users have the opportunity to adopt a “builder” mindset, using Web3 products to solve issues related to network ownership, identity, privacy, and monetization for creators.
Are people concerned about their data privacy? In this survey, 83% of respondents consider data privacy to be important. Countries with strong data protection laws, such as Germany (58%), the UK (57%), and France (63%), ironically do not strongly endorse the importance of data privacy. Although data privacy is important to most respondents, only 45% of respondents trust current internet services (social media, email, games, etc.) to use their data and personal information.
Identity on the Internet
Every aspect of life involves some form of identification – from housing to employment, education, and medical history. Today, online identity requires you to prove that you are who you claim to be. Our digital identity is owned and controlled by the services and social media platforms you use on the internet, usually not stored in one place and owned by individuals themselves. The vast majority of respondents want better control over their identity on the internet.
The Current State of the Internet
In today’s era, the “creator economy” represents individuals who have their own brand and audience, and this is already a $250 billion market. Many people predict that this industry will continue to grow, especially with the emergence of new Web3 business models. Currently, only 38% of global respondents believe that they are adequately rewarded for the value and creativity they bring to the internet. 67% of respondents from Nigeria believe they add value to the internet, while only 5% of Japanese respondents think the same.
Despite the continuous appearance of cryptocurrencies in the media and the public sphere, do people really understand what they are? Overall, people have a high level of awareness about cryptocurrencies: 92% of global respondents have heard of them, and 50% of respondents say they understand what cryptocurrencies are. The percentage of respondents who claim to understand cryptocurrencies is much higher in Nigeria (78%), South Korea (63%), South Africa (61%), Brazil (59%), and India (56%), while it is much lower in Indonesia and Japan, where only one-third of people say they know what cryptocurrencies are.
Concepts Related to Cryptocurrencies
Which concepts are associated with cryptocurrencies? Globally, cryptocurrencies are seen as the “future of money” and an “alternative to the traditional financial ecosystem.” While only 8% of respondents globally chose “crime and money laundering” as the primary association with cryptocurrencies, European countries are more likely to associate them with speculation (especially in France and Germany) or negative information such as fraud/phishing.
As for familiarity with NFTs, more respondents globally indicate that they are not familiar with NFTs. The United States, India, South Africa, and especially Nigeria are the countries with the highest familiarity with NFTs. On the contrary, respondents from South America, Europe, and Japan have the highest proportion of unfamiliarity with NFTs.
Overall, most respondents globally (across all countries) are more familiar with all the Web3 concepts tested in the survey. However, there are also variations: the most popular concepts are metaverse (36%) and NFTs (34%), while Web3 is the least known concept, with only 24% of respondents being familiar with it.
Impact of Recent News
2022 was a year in which many cryptocurrency companies filed for bankruptcy. But did the public take notice? Did it affect their trust in the industry? Two-thirds of respondents globally reported hearing about recent bankruptcies of centralized cryptocurrency companies, with significant variations across countries. These series of bankruptcies among cryptocurrency financial firms have had an impact on respondents’ overall trust in blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and Web3. The impact was most significant in South Korea and Nigeria (with 94% and 89% respectively claiming a significant impact). Respondents from Germany, Vietnam, India, and South Africa were more likely to claim that it had no impact on their trust in the ecosystem.
The survey results indicate a hopeful shift in people’s general attitude towards the internet vision, which empowers individuals to have greater control over their shared online data and ensures more equitable profit distribution among creators. However, despite this positive trend, there still exists a notable gap between understanding cryptocurrencies and the practical utilization of Web3 technology. This gap presents a valuable opportunity for mainstream Web3 applications to bridge the existing agency gap in today’s internet environment, characterized by limited privacy, control, and ownership.
We view the transition to Web3 as an opportunity for internet users to regain control: to find ways to guide them in ways that add value for them, to motivate them to build, own, and shape their world. We can leverage the power of Web3 to address issues related to network ownership, identity, privacy, and monetization for creators.