- Americans are mostly distrustful of companies today, citing concentration of decision-making power and excessive focus on corporate profits
- Only half (52%) of Americans believe that everyone has an equal chance to succeed and thrive on the internet
- Most support Web3 and DAOs in theory, but express skepticism toward who benefits from the technology
- NFTs rise in popularity, but enthusiasm for the technology diminishes from the previous year as many see investors, rather than artists, as its primary beneficiaries
- Interest in NFTs is especially high among people of color, signaling belief in the technology’s goal of increasing access to creators
Americans are mostly distrustful of companies today, citing concentration of decision-making power and excessive focus on corporate profits
More than 3 in 4 Americans (77%) say that companies today are focused on corporate profits over the public good, a sentiment consistent across age groups and party lines. Less than one in three (30%) of U.S. adults say that corporations can be trusted to look for the public good.
Americans say that the leading issue for companies when it comes to making decisions is an over-emphasis on profits:
- 43% say companies are too focused on making money
- 42% say too much power is concentrated in a few individuals' hands
- 38% say companies prioritize short-term gains over long-term benefits
- 34% say companies ignore the potential environmental or social impacts of their decisions
- 33% cite lack of transparency in the decision-making process
Distrust in companies also spreads to their influence online: only half (52%) of Americans believe that everyone has an equal chance to succeed and thrive on the internet
Four in ten (44%) disagree with the belief in equal opportunity for success on the internet, as worries surrounding companies' impact on society spread to their influence online.
- 84% of Americans believe that large corporations and brands have too much influence on the internet
- 70% say small businesses and individuals are too dependent on closed platforms, such as technology and social media companies
Most support Web3 and DAOs in theory, but express skepticism toward who benefits from the technology
"Decentralized autonomous organizations" (DAOs), organizations based on blockchain technology that are governed democratically by its members, remain mostly unheard of among U.S. adults; fewer than 1 in 5 (18%) U.S. adults have heard of DAOs.
- Awareness rises to 26% for those who work in technology
- Men are more likely than women to have heard of DAOs (20% vs. 15%)
- Gen Zers and Millennials are more likely to be familiar with DAOs than Gen X or Boomers (21% and 22% vs. 16% and 15%)
- Awareness of DAOs is highest among male Millennials (27%)
- Both male and female Gen Zers are equally likely to be aware of DAOs (21%), while female millennials are much less likely than their male counterparts (16% vs. 27%)
Among those who have heard of DAOs, the majority (63%) are confident that DAOs are able to improve how companies and organizations are run, but are unsure of who benefits from the technology.
- Only 18% believe that DAOs are mostly hype, and is just a fad
- 52% believe that DAOs are only useful for a select group of people
- 28% believe that DAOs are the real deal, and will become mainstream
Do you think DAOs are mostly hype or the real deal?
Web3, is the term for the next era of the internet, aimed at moving toward a more transparent and open internet by relying on blockchain technology and open standards for services, and away from closed service providers (such as Amazon, Google, and Facebook).
Public awareness of Web3 is similarly low, with only 13% of U.S. adults having heard of the technology. One in four (24%) of those who work in tech, however, are aware of Web3.
- Men are twice as likely as women to have heard of Web3 (17% vs. 8%)
- Gen Z and Millennials are more likely than Gen X or Boomers to be aware of Web3 (20% and 18% vs. 11% and 8%)
- Younger men, specifically Gen Z and Millennial men, are most likely to be aware of Web3 (27% and 24% respectively), and twice as likely as their female counterparts (13% and 11%)
Only slightly more than one in three (37%) of U.S. adults are confident that the internet can move away from reliance on closed service providers, such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook. Confidence is higher among those aware of Web3, compared with those who have not heard of the technology (67% vs. 34%). Among those aware of Web3:
- 17% believe that Web3 is just a fad
- 41% believe that Web3 will only benefit a small group of people
- 41% believe that Web3 will become mainstream
Do you think Web3 is mostly hype or the real deal?
Awareness of NFTs rise but enthusiasm for the technology diminishes from the previous year as investors are seen as among its primary beneficiaries
Public awareness of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, has skyrocketed from the previous year, from 13% in March 2021, to 33% in January 2021.
- NFTS are most popular among men, compared with women (42% vs. 24%)
- Half (50%) of Gen Zers have heard of the technology, compared to 38% of Millennials, and 30% of Gen Xers.
- Awareness is highest among Gen Z men, with more than two-thirds (69%) having heard of the technology. This is more than twice as high as Gen Z women (32%). A similar pattern emerges among Millennials (50% for Millennial men vs. 26% for Millennial women)
- Those with at least a college degree are more likely to have heard of NFTs than those without a degree (41% vs. 30%)
Among those aware of NFTs, one in five (19%) have ever purchased an NFT. One in six (16%) of those who have not previously heard of NFTs express interest in owning one.
- Men are almost twice as likely than women than to have ever purchased and NFT (11% vs 6%)
- NFTs purchases are mostly driven by Gen Z and Millennials (16% and 15% respectively), compared with 7% of Gen Xers.
- Men are also driving the purchases within their generational cohorts: 20% of Gen Z men have purchased and NFT, compare to 12% of Gen Z women, and 19% of Millennial men have ever done so, compared to 11% of Millennial men
Interest in NFTs is especially high among people of color, signaling belief in the technology’s goal of increasing access to other creators
People of color express 40% of Black adults, 34% of Hispanic adults, and 38% of Asian adults express interest in owning an NFT, compared with 18% of white adults.
U.S. generally adults show skepticism toward the future of NFTs:
- One in three (34%) believe NFTs are mostly hype, and is only a fad
- 44% believe NFTs are only useful for a small group of people
- 14% believe NFTs will become mainstream
POC, however, are more bullish on the technology than white adults: only one in five Black and Asian adults think NFTs are only a fad (22% and 20%), compared with white adults (39%).
The hype for NFTs rise has cooled from the previous year - among those who have heard of NFTs:
- 40% currently say NFTs will be more popular in five years than now compared to 43% in the previous year.
- 28% say NFTs will be as popular in five years ago than now, down from 38% the previous year
- Twice as many believe NFTs will be less popular than they are now, up from 15% the previous year to 31% today
Who do you think benefits the most from NFTs?
Hailed as the future of compensating digital creators, NFTs are most commonly seen as benefiting investors, rather than artists and content creators (25% vs. 19%).
- Those who are aware of NFTs are more bullish, believing NFTs to benefit creators as much as investors (26% vs 25%).
- Owners have a similar view, with a similar number perceiving creators to benefit as much as investors (22% vs. 24%)