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57% of Young Americans Believe Bitcoin Boosts Global Economy

| Published on February 6, 2014 at 14:46 GMT

The majority of young consumers in the US believe that bitcoin 'helps the global economy', a new survey commissioned by The Street has revealed.

57% of the 18- to 25-year-olds that took part in the nationwide GfK survey believe bitcoin benefits the global economy, while 33% believe it helps the US dollar.

It seems younger consumers are more comfortable with bitcoin than their parents or grandparents. This is not surprising, as previous surveys have indicated that younger generations are more open to digital currencies like bitcoin and litecoin.

What is surprising is the fact that the 50- to 65-year-olds that took part showed the greatest familiarity with bitcoin, at 30%.

Of the 18-24 year-olds quizzed, 32% said they would consider using alternative currencies, versus just 11% of those over the age of 65. In addition, 15% of the younger age bracket would rather own bitcoins than gold, versus 14% of those over 65.

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Results of The Street's bitcoin poll, which interviewed 1,005 US citizens last month.

However, the vast majority of consumers in the US haven’t heard of bitcoin and wouldn’t use it, either.

The nationwide survey found that American consumers are not only unfamiliar with bitcoin, they are uncomfortable with the idea of holding and using it.

Of those surveyed, 76% said they are not familiar with bitcoin, while 79% said they have never and would never consider using alternative currencies.

"If the survey says that 24% of Americans have heard about bitcoin then I’m pleased. I would honestly rather that the other 76% weren’t yet on board as it’s still not ready for prime-time," said Paul Gordon, organiser of London's CoinScrum bitcoin meetups.

Interestingly, 38% believe bitcoin “hurts” the US dollar, while 80% said they would rather own gold than bitcoins.

Across income brackets

"While bitcoin has attracted the attention of influential hedge fund managers and the research desks of major US banks, an overwhelming majority of Americans remain unaware of cryptocurrency," said Joe Deaux, The Street's Economics Analyst, adding:

"Bitcoin's supporters would argue that the virtual currency remains in its infancy and that a year ago most of Wall Street hadn't heard of it, but The Street's survey shows that there isn't great deviation across income brackets as to how many people know about bitcoin, own bitcoin and prefer it to owning gold."

In contrast, Gordon said he's currently excited by the pace at which bitcoin foundations are being developed across the world, so that wider adoption can occur in a "more secure and user-friendly environment".

"Our CoinScrum networking and learning group in London, which is now the largest of its kind in the world with over 1,250 members, has seen a 100-fold increase in membership in the last year alone and we attracted 250 people to our most recent event," he added. 

A recent survey by Bloomberg found that 42% of Americans were able to correctly identify bitcoin as a digital currency. However, 6% of participants mistook it for an iPhone app and another 6% believed it was an Xbox game.

Tech in Motion recently carried out a survey among tech professionals and found that 51% would like to be paid in bitcoin, while 18% said they would wait and see what happens to the currency over the next couple of years.

"I remain convinced that bitcoin, along with the various technologies it has already spawned, is on the right trajectory," concluded Gordon.

Analysis Image via Shutterstock

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