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42% of Americans Know What Bitcoin is

| Published on December 13, 2013 at 17:40 GMT

According to a new Bloomberg poll, 42% of Americans know that bitcoin is a digital currency.

However, the majority of the US residents quizzed still don’t know what bitcoin actually is.

Those who were familiar with the cryptocurrency said they were still unsure what to make of it. In fact, many who were asked had questions for the pollsters too.

Those that do know, don’t know much

Of the people who had heard of bitcoin, some were hesitant to use it themselves, either in a business or personal capacity.

Olga Ruff, a 62-year-old businesswoman, said she was unlikely to start accepting bitcoin in her small jewellery shop. “What use would it be for me?” she said, adding: “I’m not sure what the value of it is, and what I’d be able to exchange it for.”

Jeremy Labadie, an internet security specialist, said he would have to consider his options further before making a purchase: “I don’t necessarily know if it’s something I would think about using.”

However Labadie also admitted that he had considered buying some bitcoins as a long-term investment.

Other respondents said they heard about bitcoin through mainstream news coverage. In turn, this had given them an idea of the currency's drawbacks as well as bitcoin-related scams and crimes.

No clear position on regulation

The most interesting part of the poll involved those who identified bitcoin correctly.

When these participants were asked whether the digital currency should remain unregulated, they were split down the middle.

The majority, 46%, said they favour bitcoin regulation. However, 39% said bitcoin should not be regulated. The remaining 16% were unsure.

It should be noted that government regulation of certain industries is a hotly debated topic in American politics, hence it tends to be controversial and opinions may be split along party lines (for example, small government versus big government).

Bitcoin: Xbox game or iPhone app?

More than 1,000 people took part in the poll and some answers were rather amusing.

A total of 46% said they do not know what bitcoin is. Suprisingly, 6% of participants thought bitcoin was an Xbox game, while another 6% were convinced it was an iOS app on the iPhone.

Unsurprisingly, the poll found that people under the age of 35 were more likely to know a thing or two about bitcoin. Additionally, they were also more likely to be in favour of keeping it unregulated.

American Crowd image via Shutterstock

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