Cryptocurrency trading as behavioral addiction: cross-sectional and longitudinal perspective from Finland
Commission-free trading platforms have recently caused concerns over gamification of investing. Similarities between investing and gambling have long been discussed, but new kinds of online platforms, such as Binance, for cryptocurrency trading have created a new need for empirical research in the area. This presentation investigates cryptocurrency trading using cross-sectional (Study 1) and longitudinal (Study 2) designs. The survey data for study 1 was collected in April–May 2021. Participants were Finnish residents aged 18–75 (N = 1530, 50.33% male). In Study 2 the participants of Study 1 were invited to participate in a follow-up survey conducted 6 months after the 1st survey, in October-November 2021. Response rate was 78% (n = 1200). Both surveys asked about engaging in different forms of investing, trading, and gambling. Other measures included excessive gambling (Problem Gambling Severity Index, PGSI), excessive gaming (Internet Gaming Disorder Test, IGDT), excessive internet use (Compulsive Internet Use Scale, CIUS), psychological distress (Mental Health Inventory, MHI-5), perceived stress (Perceived Stress Scale, PSS), and perceived loneliness (3-item Loneliness Scale). Study 1 showed cryptocurrency trading to be associated with excessive gambling, excessive gaming, and excessive internet use as well as with psychological distress, perceived stress, and perceived loneliness. Study 2 further confirmed the associations between cryptocurrency trading and excessive behaviors, as there was an increase in excessive gambling and gaming among cryptocurrency traders. Our results indicate high risk-potential of cryptocurrency trading platforms designed for speculative day-trading. Using these platforms can potentially be very attractive for gamblers and may also encourage others to engage in gambling-type activities.