Lower Income Countries Know More About Bitcoin
The survey, carried out by Ipsos for the Dutch banking giant ING, reveals how cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are perceived in 2018. It does so by interviewing almost 15,000 respondents in 15 European countries, the United States and Australia. The authors aimed to better understand how people around the world spend, save, invest and feel about digital money. They also sought answers to the question, will cryptocurrency become more mainstream?
The poll conducted online between March 26 and April 6 reveals high awareness of cryptocurrencies among residents of the Old Continent. Two thirds of Europeans (66%) have heard of cryptos, with higher numbers among males (77%). Several lower income countries like Turkey (70%), Romania (75%) and Poland (77%) have a higher share of people who have heard of cryptocurrency than the European average – 66%. More Australians (70%) than Americans (57%) are aware of Bitcoin.
A surprising discovery was that younger people, in the brackets 25-34 and 35-44 years, are not necessarily much more knowledgeable than other age groups. For example, 60% of European respondents aged 65 or older shared they had heard of cryptocurrency. Tech-savvy Europeans, typically those using their mobile devices for online banking, are more likely to have heard of cryptocurrencies (69%) than the rest (59%), the researchers point out.
In most cases, 11 out of 15 countries, websites specialized in providing cryptocurrency-related content are the preferred source of information when making decisions on bitcoin investments. Investors in only three countries, Spain, Luxembourg and France, tend to more often seek advice from experts from financial institutions and banks, while Italians are divided, the study shows. The numbers of those who rely on guidance from family and friends or software algorithms are relatively small.
Less than a third of European respondents said they would never invest in cryptocurrencies. Austrians are the biggest skeptics, as well as people over 65 years of age. Only 14% of the young respondents, 18-34 years old, are unwilling to put money into crypto.
A Quarter of Europeans Expect to Own Crypto in the Future
The share of people owning cryptocurrency in Europe is still relatively low – 9% said they had purchased bitcoin or any other crypto, with the data for Australia (7%) and the US (8%) showing similar results. Luxembourg (4%) and Belgium (5%) are at the bottom of the table, while Eastern European countries, like Poland (11%) and Romania (12%), are among the leaders in the survey. Turkey, with its staggering 18%, tops the chart. In Europe, “mobile bankers” (12%), males (13%) and young people between 25 and 34 years old (16%) are again more likely to own cryptocurrency.
The good news is that one in four Europeans (25%) expects to acquire cryptocurrency in the future, which translates into a 16% potential increase in the share of crypto owners. Again, the percentage of those likely to say they expect to buy cryptocurrency is higher among people using their smartphones for banking. Generally, those Europeans that are at least aware of cryptocurrencies are also less likely to purchase crypto assets. Elsewhere, 15% of Australian respondents believe they would own cryptos in the future, while the same can be said for 21% of Americans.
Europeans More Optimistic than Australians and Americans
The authors of the survey also asked several questions to determine the respondents’ view of what the future holds for Bitcoin and the like. Europeans are generally more optimistic than participants from Australia and the US. The combined data for the 13 European countries in the study shows that 35% of those questioned expect cryptocurrencies to rise in value in the next 12 months. That’s compared to 34% of Americans and 22% of Australians. The Turks are the most optimistic of the bunch, 51%, while only 20% of the residents of Luxembourg expect the prices of the digital coins to go up again.
The optimistic Europeans are also those who believe cryptocurrencies are the future of online spending: 35% and 32% respectively say Bitcoin and altcoins are the future of financial investments. In Australia, these numbers are 18% and 19%. Almost a third of Americans, 31%, think cryptocurrencies will be used for online purchases and 29% see them as main investment instruments in the years to come.
European respondents that know of, own or plan to acquire cryptocurrency have also been asked if they would use it for certain purchases and purposes. Less than half of the interviewed Europeans, between 40 and 49% from all categories, don’t want to change their habits when it comes to everyday payment transactions.
From the rest, 23% said they would buy a cup of coffee with bitcoin, 21% are willing to pay their taxes or monthly electricity bills in crypto, 26% think it’s a good idea to buy a plane ticket with bitcoin, 30% are ready to make international online payments, and 20% admit they would use cryptocurrency to save for their children’s tuition fees. In general, the researchers conclude, younger people and residents of countries with lower per-capita income levels are more likely to consider cryptocurrency as a payment option. At the moment, 15% of Europeanswould accept their salary in cryptocurrency.
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