Cryptocurrency enthusiasts have a “dark” personality and love conspiracy theories
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Cryptocurrency enthusiasts have a “dark” personality and love conspiracy theories

Cryptocurrencies are one of the biggest revolutions in finance in recent years. What draws people to these digital, anonymous, and decentralized currencies? Part of it seems to be a matter of character. Specifically, personality, driven by the so-called “dark triad”: narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. At least that’s the conclusion of a study published recently in the journal Plos One, which examined the personality, political views, and social circumstances of more than 2,000 American adults.

Since the explosion of Bitcoin in 2009, cryptocurrencies have gained increasing popularity around the world. And if at first they were a somewhat anarchic technology, aimed at wresting economic transactions from the control of banks and traditional economic institutions, over the years they have become increasingly accepted by the world of mainstream finance. And that is why researchers from the University of Toronto wanted to investigate what kind of people are attracted to the world of cryptocurrencies today.

To do this, they relied on a survey of over 2,000 American adults. Thirty percent of respondents revealed that they own or have owned cryptocurrencies in the past. When looking at the ideological tendencies of this subgroup, cryptocurrency enthusiasts seem to be split fairly evenly on both ends of the political spectrum.

Characteristics that allow us to more accurately identify cryptocurrency enthusiasts are also gender, male gender, mass use of poorly controlled social media (such as Telegram, Reddit or X) as a source of information, polemics and aversion to authoritarian forms of government, and a tendency to believe in and spread conspiracy theories. On a psychological level, a link has also emerged between the tendency to use cryptocurrencies and the so-called dark triad, i.e. three personality traits, narcissism (subclinical), Machiavellianism and psychopathy (here also subclinical), which are characterized, with various nuances, by a tendency to insensitivity, egocentrism and manipulation of others.

The results, the study authors warn, should be considered preliminary because they are based on a small sample of people. And it is not certain that they are also representative of the populations of other nations, because they were obtained by examining only adult Americans. For this reason, the Toronto researchers hope that the topic will continue to be studied. “Governments around the world are working to increase control over cryptocurrencies, and in some cases, to imitate them,” they write, “and for this reason, it will be important in the future to understand what attracts people to these digital currencies.”