Crypto Currency Adaption: Predicting Individual Tendency for Adaption of crypto currencies based on Hofstede’s 6 Cultural Dimensions
Money is extremely important to every person on the planet. Today’s money is called fiat currency which means it is legal tender whose value is backed by the issuing government. The money itself has no intrinsic value other than the paper it is printed on. Thus, without this backing from the issuing government it is valueless. It was not always this way.
In 1971, Richard Nixon announced that he was taking the United States, and therefore the world, off the gold standard and that the united states would stop selling gold to foreign official holders of dollars at a rate of $35 an ounce. Nixon promised that the dollar would retain its full value, a promise that was promptly broken. Today’s dollar has the same purchasing power as $0.16 had in 1971 or $1 from 1971 is worth $6.19 today when taking inflation and cost of living increases into consideration.
Today, most, if not all countries have a fiat currency. However, because fiat currencies are printed there tends to be a propensity to print what is needed, particularly during troubled times of great debt. After world war I, the Treaty of Versailles imposed a financial punishment upon Germany to pay enormous reparations which were ultimately unpayable. The German mark lost its value. In April 1919, 12 German marks were worth $1 US, in November 1921, it was 263 marks per $1 US and this continued from January 1923 with 17,000 marks equal to $1 US until December 1923 with 4.2 Trillion marks being worth $1 US.
Other countries that have seen their fiat currencies devalued include Argentina in 1932, Finland, Norway and Italy in 1992, Mexico in 1984, Russia in 1998 and the Thai Baht went from a stable 25 baht per $1 US to 56 baht per $1 US. In January 1998. The Turkish Lira was 9 Lira for 1 $1 US in 1966, 90 in 1980, 1,300 in 1988, 45,000 in 1995 and eventually 1,650,000 Turkish Lira for $1 US in 2001. Currently, Zimbabwe’s dollar is valued at 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) to $1 US.
Venezuela’s bolivar (VEB) is currently valued around 100,000 bolivars per $1 US. Most of the population and the country’s consumers have lost faith in the central and commercial banks as well as the government. Venezuelans typically spend 20 minutes in lines at ATMs to get the government sanctioned maximum of 5,000 bolivars ($0.05 US) per day, which cannot purchase anything as local businesses, professionals and residents have rejected the bolivar as a currency in lieu of alternative forms of money. Crypto currency usage has taken over the role as the main currency, store of value and medium of exchange.
In Venezuela today, Bitcoin (BTC) is used to buy airline tickets, pay employees and purchase medication and thus Venezuela may become the first instance in which a crypto currency takes over a fiat currency as a country’s main currency and financial system.
In late February 2018, the Venezuelan government launched its own crypto currency named PETRO (PTR) allegedly in cooperation with the Russian government. With many aspects of the coin shrouded in mystery many initial coin offerings (ICO) rating sites state the project is missing critical information including its description of mechanism to its technology as well as its commodity backing giving it a low rating, scam status or not even bothering rating the coin, the consensus is to discourage investment in the coin (Laya, 2018) while some doubt the coin even exists (Wilmoth, 2018). In April 2018, the Venezuelan National Assembly stated that inflation was 454% in the first quarter with annual inflation over the last 12 months just short of 8,900 %. March’s monthly inflation was 67% down from 80% for February (Gupta, 2018). Though these numbers are immense they are down dramatically from 12 months earlier when the average monthly inflation rate was 750% per month. Even though President Nicolas Maduro has stated the PETRO ICO to has raised over $5 billion US with virtually no trading volume logged, VEB/BTC has seen a steady increase throughout 2018 with over $5 million US trading volume on the peer-to-peer (P2P) crypto currency trading platform LocalBitcoins alone despite the monumental downturn in bitcoin’s price and value in recent months (Wilmoth, 2018).
Although it appears that the adoption and usage of cryptocurrencies is broad and far reaching, this is not the case. A study in 2015 indicated that about 50% of US consumers had heard of Bitcoin or the other 700 virtual currencies then available at that time, by the end of 2015. Of those 50% of US consumers that had heard of virtual currencies only 1% of them or 2% of all US consumers have ever owned a virtual currency. Most of those that have owned virtual currency used it to pay a person or merchant in the past month. This adoption, usage and awareness correlates to a demographic that is a younger, non-white, lower-educated male with expectations that bitcoin will appreciate. This demographic has adopted a higher number of other payment instruments and usually is responsible for household shopping (Schuh & Shy, 2016). Globally, as of 2017 crypto currency adoption and penetration is merely 0.5 %, just a quarter of what it is in the US and can be compared to Internet usage in the year1994, one year after the Internet became commercialized (Paul, 2017). Not understanding realistic penetration and adaption rates as well as your demographics of early adopters can lead to wasting resources as well as marketing to wrong audiences. Expectations may be too lofty or not lofty enough and failure may occur for an ICO that should succeed due to scalability and marketing issues.
Given the relatively small penetration rate of early adopters of crypto currencies, the potential to have to strive for small amounts of users or to be inundated by a barrage of early adopters is great and so it is important understand the characteristics not only of the current adopters but of the adaptability of the population at large. This study focuses on the tendency of crypto currency adoption in regard to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions (Hofstede, 2011). Understanding the characteristics of adopters of crypto currency usage has not been studied a lot as of yet, however using Hofstede’s cultural dimensions to test hypotheses in regard to specific characteristics has been extensively practiced (Pelau & Pop, 2018; Tang & Koveos, 2008). Since identifying characteristic of adopters of crypto currencies allow developers to identify and market to specific segments of the population, the objective of this research is to identify if specific characteristics of cultural dimensions can predict the tendency to readily adopt crypto currencies or not from an individual as well as social perspective. Evidence from this research will benefit the marketer and developer of future crypto currencies.
Adopting crypto currency involves accepting the realistic idea that crypto currencies exist. For some, even understanding this simplistic concept is difficult since crypto currency cannot be held or touched and is virtual, just bits and bytes. Crypto currencies were first introduced as a decentralized peer-to-peer version of electronic cash which had their own payment processing system (Nakamoto, 2008). We use money to buy goods. We use the goods up and we buy more goods. As consumption increases, the demand for goods increases. We do not use up money. We limit the supply of money to the amount people plan on spending. The supply of money continually grows as it is directly related to the rate of global GDP and because of this money will always loose its value. As governments debase ‘their’ money, they further reduce the value of money and thus steal directly from their citizens’ and their citizens’ savings. Since crypto currencies are finite, that is there is a predetermined amount of coins or tokens that will ever be created for a given crypto currency, they will increase in value over time especially once all programmed coins exist. Crypto currency is a remarkable store of value (Visser, 2018). This can be seen in bitcoin for any person that has managed to hold on to bitcoin from 2009 to the present.
However, adoption of crypto currencies are low with less than 3% of US consumers having ever owned a crypto currency let alone used one in a transaction although of those that own crypto currency the likelihood of them using it for a purchase or monetary transaction is great (Schuh & Shy, 2016). Globally, the number of users as a percent of the population that have adopted crypto currency as of 2017 stands less than 1% at 0.5%. There are many reasons for this, one is the ‘newness’ of crypto currency, crypto currency participation is still quite complex (Visser, 2018), governments do not like crypto currency as the cannot regulate, control or manipulate crypto currency, they cannot ‘print’ more coins and some governments have outlawed crypto currencies and use propaganda to stigmatize it Furthermore, traditional money markets and pundits claim crypto currencies to be scams and that their values will fall to zero (Wheatley, Sornette, Huber, Reppen, & Gantner, 2018), while others believe it to be a haven for criminal enterprise (Burks, 2017).
Factors affecting the Tendency to Purchase or Adopt Crypto Currencies
There are many reasons why one does not adopt a crypto currency, however the focus of this paper is what are the factors that motivate or encourage one to adopt or purchase crypto currencies. Of specific interest are the cultural dimensions that affect an individual to adopt crypto currencies. This paper focuses on six cultural dimensions (Hofstede, 2011) and how they can be used to predict the likelihood that an individual will purchase or adopt a crypto currency.
The six cultural dimensions are:
- Power Distance – accepted distributed inequality of power between members of a society or organization;
- Uncertainty Avoidance – the degree of stress a society undergoes regarding the prospects of future uncertainties;
- Individualism versus Collectivism – the level of integration of individuals into tribal primal groups;
- Masculinity versus Femininity – The level of which emotional roles are divided between males and females;
- Long Term versus Short Term Orientation – the orientation of a person’s focus to be on the future or the present and past;
- Indulgence versus Restraint – negatively correlated with long term versus short term orientation and focuses on an individual or society to allow hedonistic needs and desires to be fulfilled or the strict enforcement of social norms to curtail them.
A link has been found between Hofstede’s cultural dimensions and the Big Five personality test personality dimensions (McCrae & Costa Jr, 1999) which allow a more parsimonious understanding considering that culture and personality are linked and offer more weight in that cultural dimensions lead to better predictability in general than one might initially anticipate. The role each cultural dimension plays in the predictability of an individual’s tendency to adopt a crypto currency and the likelihood that one will adopt or purchase a crypto currency is underpinned with both Hofstede’s cultural dimensions and Goldberg’s (1990) Big Five personality test personality dimensions.
Figure 1. A representation of Predictability of Crypto Currency Adoption
Power distance is defined by Hofstede as “the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions accept and expect that power is distributed unequally” (Hofstede, 2011, p. 9). In large power distance cultures, one needs to fall in line and allow others to be recognized for their social status. Some countries with high power distance include India, Thailand and Mexico. Barring one’s ability to purchase crypto currencies, owning crypto currency in a society that has a greater power distance would be against the natural norms that people of status are supposed to own crypto currency due to its investment stigma attached to cryptocurrency and the prestige attached to owning crypto currency. Additionally, one is advised not to invest any assets in crypto currency that one cannot afford to lose is suggestive that in large power distance cultures, the tendency of the masses to adopt crypto currencies is unnatural and the adoption of crypto currencies penetration will be significantly lower than that of lower power distance cultures. Continuing with this line of thought:
H1. The tendency for an individual to adopt the use of crypto currency or the likelihood that an individual purchase crypto currency is greater in societies that exhibit low power distance.
Uncertainty avoidance refers to the degree of which a society is tolerant with inexactness, ambiguities or that of which is unknown. It Indicates how comfortable or threatened a society’s members are programed towards unstructured situations. Societies with weak uncertainty avoidance are tolerant of deviant persons and ideas, are more comfortable with chaos and perhaps have professors that say, “I don’t know’. Members of weak uncertainty societies think rules are for breaking and take each day as it comes with all that unknown in tow (Hofstede, 2011). Countries with weak uncertainty avoidance factors include Canada, the US and Australia.
Societies with strong uncertainty avoidance and unsure of what the day will bring, and intolerant of deviant people and ideas, need structure and rules and believe that there can only be one truth. Societies with strong uncertainty avoidance then to avoid risk and prefer to stay at a job even if they do not like it. Life is uncertain (Hofstede, 2011).
Crypto currencies are unknown to most of the population and when investing in them one is advised to not invest anymore they can afford to lose. Prices fluctuate drastically, daily. It is not uncommon for a currency to lose 50% of its value in a day. One of the best characteristics is to HODL which means hold on for dear life and more specifically, don’t sell short because the price fluctuated a bit. Keeping calm and relaxed will lead you down a gold infused path:
H2. The tendency for an individual to adopt the use of crypto currencies or the likelihood that an individual purchase crypto currency is greater in societies that have a weak level of uncertainty avoidance than societies with strong uncertainty avoidance levels.
Individualism vs. Collectivism
Individualism from a societal characteristic is the degree of which people identify with groups or not. In individualist societies ties between individuals are loose, children move away from parents when they turn 18 and parents live alone when they are old. People are expected to rely on themselves and the immediate family scope is less horizontal and vertical (Hofstede, 2011).
Individualistic societies enjoy democracy, follow their gut feelings and people are responsible and accountable for themselves and their actions. Other people in society are recognized as individuals and speaking your mind is not only healthy but necessary.
Countries that are high in individualism include the US, Canada and the UK. Countries low in individualism include Japan, Thailand and China.
Education in individualistic countries is focused on learning and becoming the best you can be is motivated from within yourself. Excellence in one’s self is good when recognized by others, however that is not a requirement at all:
H3. The tendency to adopt crypto currency and the likelihood to purchase crypto currency is greater in societies that have higher levels of individualism than societies that have low individualism or collectivism-based societies.
Masculinity vs. Femininity
Masculinity from a societal characteristic entails the distribution of values between men and women, a fundamental issue for any society. As cited in Hofstede (2011), The IBM studies revealed that women’s values differ less among societies than men’s values do. Additionally, men’s values among societies contain a dimension of assertiveness and competitiveness, differing from women’s values on one side, to modest and caring, like women’s values on the other. These poles have been called masculine and feminine respectively. Hofstede further asserts that the women from feminine countries display the same modest, caring values as the men, however in the masculine countries, the somewhat assertiveness and competitiveness is comparable to a much lesser degree, leaving a gap between men’s and women’s values, This gap is seen as a taboo in masculine dimensions(Hofstede, 2011). This can be seen today in western societies with the backlash and hatred against masculinity.
Masculine cultures value money, purposefulness, tasks, performance and achievement whereas feminine cultures value charity, the environment and quality of life. Feminine cultures elect many women, boys and girls cry and men and women should be modest and caring. In masculine cultures work is most important, girls cry, and boys do not, boys should fight back but girls do not and there is a distinct role differentiation between the genders (Hofstede, 2011).
It could be argued that a feminine culture, wanting to help those that are in need might adopt to crypto currencies, however the modesty and lack of competitiveness and achievement, I feel would overtake any desire to participate in crypto currencies of any form until proven or forced:
H4. The tendency to adopt crypto currency or the likelihood to purchase crypto currencies is greater in societies that have a high degree of masculinity than in societies that are high in femininity.
Long Term vs. Short term Orientation
Long term orientation house characteristic such as perseverance, thrift and having a sense of shame. Relationships are ordered regarding status and individuals in societies with long term characteristics look forward to the future for the most important life events. People adapt to circumstances and good and evil are defined by circumstances. Success depends on effort and countries with long term characteristics experience fast economic growth as larger savings pools provide necessary capital for investment (Hofstede, Hofstede, & Minkov, 2010). Long-term oriented countries include East Asian as well as East European countries.
Short term-oriented societies exhibit slow economic growth like poor countries, feel luck is responsible for success, respect traditions, are rigid to change and look to the past for the best events in life. These societies consume and spend on social programs (Hofstede, 2011). Short term-oriented countries include the US, Canada and Australia:
H5. The tendency to adopt crypto currency or the likelihood to purchase crypto currency is greater in societies that are long-term oriented than societies that are short-term oriented.
Indulgence versus restraint weakly correlates to long-term versus short-term orientation with a focus on what is known as happiness research. An indulgent society allows for the enjoyment of life and having fun through relatively free gratification of natural and basic human desires. Indulgent societal members perceive they are in control of their personal life and a higher percentage of them say they are happy. Indulgent societies put a high emphasis on leisure, sports and frequently have a higher percent of obese people. The higher the education levels, the higher the populations, the higher the wealth, the more lenient the sexual norms. Positive emotions are more memorable and maintaining order is low in priority (Hofstede, 2011).
In restrained societies there are many police per 100,000 people, fewer happy people as people feel helpless. People are not active in sports and leisure is of low importance. Freedom of speech is not a primary concern and in countries with enough food, there are fewer obese people. In wealthy countries there are stricture sexual norms and in educated countries, there are lower birthrates.
Indulgent societies include Western Europe, and North and South America whereas restraint resides in the Muslim world, Eastern Europe and Asia (Hofstede, 2011):
H6. The tendency to adopt crypto currency or the likelihood to purchase crypto currency is greater in societies that are more indulgent in orientation than societies that are more restrained in orientation.
Likelihood to Purchase Crypto Currency
The likelihood to purchase crypto currency is positively influenced by the overall tendency to adopt to crypto currency. Additionally, if there is no tendency or a low tendency to adopt to crypto currency, the likelihood that one will purchase crypto currency decreases. If any 1 of the 6 factors affecting the adoption or purchase of crypto currency is great, the likelihood to purchase crypto currency is increased. It is the summated value of the tendency to adopt to crypto currency that affects the likelihood to purchase crypto currency. An increased summated value will increase the likelihood to purchase crypto currency:
H7. The tendency to adopt crypto currency or the likelihood to purchase crypto currency is greater the in cultures that have an overall higher summated value of all six cultural dimensions combined.
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LIST OF FIGURES
|A representation of Predictability of Crypto Currency Adoption…
|Hofstede’s Cultural Dimension Indexes Country comparisons …..
Hofstede’s Values Survey Module 2013 (VSM2013)
INTERNATIONAL QUESTIONNAIRE – Section 1
Please think of an ideal job, disregarding your present job, if you have one. In choosing an ideal job, how important would it be to you to … (please circle one answer in each line across):
1 = of utmost importance
2 = very important
3 = of moderate importance
4 = of little importance
5 = of very little or no importance
- have sufficient time for your personal or home life 1 2 3 4 5
- have a boss (direct superior) you can respect 1 2 3 4 5
- get recognition for good performance 1 2 3 4 5
- have security of employment 1 2 3 4 5
- have pleasant people to work with 1 2 3 4 5
- do work that is interesting 1 2 3 4 5
- be consulted by your boss in decisions involving your work 1 2 3 4 5
- live in a desirable area 1 2 3 4 5
- have a job respected by your family and friends 1 2 3 4 5
- have chances for promotion 1 2 3 4 5
In your private life, how important is each of the following to you:
(please circle one answer in each line across):
- keeping time free for fun 1 2 3 4 5
- moderation: having few desires 1 2 3 4 5
- doing a service to a friend 1 2 3 4 5
- thrift (not spending more than needed) 1 2 3 4 5
- How often do you feel nervous or tense?
- always 2. Usually 3. Sometimes 4. Seldom 5. Never
- Are you a happy person?
- always 2. Usually 3. Sometimes 4. Seldom 5. Never
- Do other people or circumstances ever prevent you from doing what you really want to?
- yes, always 2. yes, usually 3. Sometimes 4. no, seldom 5. no, never
- All in all, how would you describe your state of health these days?
- very good 2. Good 3. Fair 4. Poor 5. very poor
- How proud are you to be a citizen of your country?
- very proud 2. fairly proud 3. somewhat proud 4. not very proud 5. not proud at all
- How often, in your experience, are subordinates afraid to contradict their boss
(or students their teacher?)
- never 2. Seldom 3. Sometimes 4. Usually 5. Always
To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?
(please circle one answer in each line across):
1 = strongly agree
2 = agree
3 = undecided
4 = disagree
5 = strongly disagree
- One can be a good manager without having a precise answer to every question that a subordinate may raise about his or her work 1 2 3 4 5
- Persistent efforts are the surest way to results 1 2 3 4 5
- An organization structure in which certain subordinates have two bosses should be avoided at all cost 1 2 3 4 5
- A company’s or organization’s rules should not be broken -not even when the employee thinks breaking the rule would be in the organization’s best interest 1 2 3 4 5
Some information about yourself (for statistical purposes):
- Are you: 1. Male 2. female
- How old are you? 1. Under 20 2. 20-24 3. 25-29 4. 30-34
- 35-39 6. 40-49 7. 50-59 8. 60 or over
- How many years of formal school education (or their equivalent)
did you complete (starting with primary school)?
- 10 years or less
- 11 years
- 12 years
- 13 years
- 14 years
- 15 years
- 16 years
- 17 years
- 18 years or over
- If you have or have had a paid job, what kind of job is it / was it?
- No paid job (includes full-time students)
- Unskilled or semi-skilled manual worker
- Generally trained office worker or secretary
- Vocationally trained craftsperson, technician, IT-specialist, nurse, artist or equivalent
- Academically trained professional or equivalent (but not a manager of people)
- Manager of one or more subordinates (non-managers)
- Manager of one or more managers
- What is your nationality?
- What was your nationality at birth (if different)?
Thank you very much for your cooperation!