Many people make general assumptions about the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry. To cut through the noise, our team at Affinio analyzed 600,000 U.S.-based Twitter followers of the industry’s largest cryptocurrency accounts.
We wanted to know more than just their demographics or what they had to say. We wanted to determine their true affinities.
What do they love? To whom do they listen? What is unique about this group? Most importantly, what sub-communities exist within their larger collective?
Leanne Cochrane is the vice president, Product Management at Affinio, a division of NowVertical Group. She has been helping global brands better understand their audiences for the last six years. Prior to Affinio, she held product roles for various enterprise companies and start-ups, all from her home in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Between Dec. 29, 2021, and Jan. 27, 2022, our analysis helped confirm some previous assumptions about Crypto Twitter (for example, male dominance of the conversation, interest in Elon Musk) but also unearthed a few surprisingly deep affinities for both sports and gaming.
By looking into the behaviors, definitions and affinities of both active and passive users in the Twitter discussion, we found that this group is no monolith. In fact, the crypto community has different audience clusters, each with their own likes, dislikes and behaviors.
As part of our analysis, we applied an algorithm to look at the Twitter accounts followed and engaged with by every single member in our defined audience. Once the algorithm detected a common following pattern among a subset of users in the larger group, that pattern in turn became the "fingerprint" for the cluster and the signals against which sequential users were segmented. This effectively broke the audience into individual clusters based on those affinities, allowing us to dig in and discover the trends and actions most likely to move the conversation for each sub-community within the larger crypto discussion.
See also: Elon Musk Shouldn't Lead Twitter | Opinion
The clusters identified each have different interests in politics, culture and the cryptocurrencies that they follow. The Twitter crypto community remains highly diverse.
Crypto Twitter is male-dominated, gets its news from social media.
The majority of the U.S. Twitter crypto audience is made up of males in their early to mid-30s who largely reside in New York, Los Angeles and other parts of California. They self-describe not just as crypto investors but as fathers, husbands, engineers, entrepreneurs and business professionals, making up 70% of the audience. They source their crypto news from places like YouTube, OpenSea, Crypto.com, Medium and Reddit. Among their top categories of interest are finance, podcasts, cars and esports.
Top tech CEOs like Elon Musk of Tesla (TSLA) and Bill Gates, formerly of Microsoft (MSFT) influence this audience heavily, along with widely known crypto entrepreneurs like ShapeShift founder Erik Voorhees and Coinbase (COIN) co-founder Brian Armstrong. Industry stars Cameron Winklevoss, Andreas Antonopoulos, Tyler Winklevoss, Charlie Lee and Roger Ver followed closely behind.
Members of this audience visit Twitter to discuss non-fungible tokens (NFT), sports and the metaverse. Coinbase is their preferred app to trade and invest. And their top brands include Tesla, Netflix (NFLX), Amazon (AMZN), PlayStation (MYPS), Apple (AAPL), Wendy's (WEN) and Nike (NKE).
Many people in the crypto Twitter community are big sports fans who love DOGE.
We grouped our analysis based on Twitter users’ affinities and defined interests. Users identifying as sports and football fans, gamers, university students and music lovers made up one particularly large cluster (17%). They love engaging on the platform to discuss sports news and events, tweet at sports broadcasters and share National Football League (NFL) memes. SportsCenter, ESP, and WorldstarHipHop are the top media accounts they follow.
PlayStation is their gaming console of choice, and Tesla, Nike and Netflix are among their favorite brands. Ben Baller (founder of Icee Fresh Jewels) and sports analyst Mike Clay heavily influence this cluster. This community bonds through their passion for the National Basketball Association (NBA), NFL and fantasy sports.
This group’s favorite cryptocurrency is DOGE, which dominates their general interests, even more than top accounts from the likes of Elon Musk and LeBron James.
Ethereum, Bitcoin and Web 3 hype…
The largest cluster with a crypto-specific affinity grouping (14%) focused primarily on Ethereum, Bitcoin and Web 3 hype. Most of them are 36-year-old males living in San Francisco, Denver and Miami. They use terms like bitcoin (BTC), blockchain, and cryptocurrency in their Twitter bio, which reveals their passion for crypto investing. Some offer crypto investing tips to their followers, and they often tag crypto analysts and stock brokers like Will Clemente and Peter Schiff in their tweets.
The cluster uses Twitter to discuss a wide range of Bitcoin, Web 3, and Ethereum-related topics. They favor Substack and Block Crypto among newsletters and often use them to source information. CCN, Stocktwits and both CNBC's "Fast Money" and "Mad Money" are among the group’s top media interests, and Apple, Adidas and Tesla are among their preferred brands. Crypto journalists and bloggers like Laura Shin and Peter Todd also influence them heavily. They love crypto education and reporting.
This community is the most crypto-dedicated cluster in the survey. You can also see them following many venture capitalists and CEOs in this space, and they were likely early adopters of cryptocurrency.
A large part of the Crypto Twitter community is interested in NFTs and less common currencies.
We found that 13% of Crypto Twitter is made up of DOGE and SHIB army fans, 11% Binance and AirDrop fans, and 10% non-fungible token (NFT) collectors and ADA traders. These hefty percentages show that there are huge crypto audiences outside Bitcoin and Ethereum, each with their own disparate interests and influences. For example, NFT collectors and Cardano fans are not just influenced by the biggest names and brands in technology and cryptocurrency. People marketing to the crypto industry should be aware of the power of niche influence.
A large part of the crypto Twitter community are political news junkies
A large chunk of Crypto Twitter (19% of our analysis) is made up of political news junkies in their mid-30s largely based in Manhattan, San Francisco and Seattle. We can infer, from how they describe themselves, that they work in tech and software and some are even founders of their own tech companies. This cluster keeps current on the latest political or sports news stories, and their top media outlets include CNBC, NBC News, and ABC News. When sharing articles on social media, they generally pull them from sources like ESPN.com and the Guardian.
The Political News Junkies cluster (19%) use Twitter to share their personal opinions on new tech, software and crypto coins – and they enjoy tweeting out their daily Wordle results. They commonly mention political operative Jon Cooper and former NBA player Rex Chapman or tag them in their tweets. They regularly listen to the National Public Radio and "Daily Show" podcasts, and they enjoy watching Ted Talks.
Some of their top brands include Tesla, Microsoft and Amazon. Venture capitalists and tech founders, including Semil Shah of Haystack, Michael Seibel of YCombinator and Stewart Butterfield of Slack, influence this cluster heavily, as do lesser-known figures such as Josh Elman, a venture partner at Greylock and John Collison, the co-founder of Stripe.
This community bonds over its passion for tech start-ups and their founders, venture capitalists, and U.S. political news. It also has a unique affinity for the venture capital firm Social Capital.
A sizable group is interested in right-wing media
The majority of the Fox News & MAGA cluster (7% of the analyzed group) is age 39, making them the "oldest" cluster of the full crypto audience. They largely reside in Texas, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
This cluster uses Twitter to express its dislike toward U.S. President Joe Biden, and it regularly tags public figures like Mike Cernovich and conservative radio talk show host Jesse Kelly. Their political information is significantly more likely to come from Sean Hannity, The Post Millennial, The Gateway Pundit, The National Pulse, PragerU, The Conservative Brief, social media platform Gettr and conservative comedy site The Babylon Bee. They have a great affinity for Manhattan Republican Chair Andrea Catsimatidis, TurningPoint USA’s Alex Clark, and Breitbart Pentagon correspondent Kristina Wong.
Smith & Wesson (SWBI) firearms and Wendy's are among the MAGA cluster’s top brand interests. Lawyer Ron Coleman and Dr. Robert Epstein are the top two niche influencers for this conservative community. People in the cluster are fans of Fox news host Tucker Carlson and of Ben Shapiro, host of the "Ben Shapiro Show," and have a strong interest in conservative talk shows and podcasts.
The crypto Twitter community is not a monolith.
There is no one single crypto persona, but a series of sub-communities with different interests beyond their initial crypto bond. Some lean more heavily toward tech, others finance, and still others bend toward sports or art. They rely on different media outlets and influencers to source information, and favor different brands.
The concept of a monolithic cryptocurrency fan is outdated. The only way for organizations bent on joining the conversation to remain relevant is to take the time to learn more about these sub-communities, tailor content to them and consider meaningful partnerships.
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