80% of Australians Know About Crypto but Only 1% Use It: Central Bank Study

Fewert than 1 percent of surveyed Australians paid for consumer goods with cryptocurrency in 2019, according to a new study by the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Mar 20, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 8:20 a.m. UTC

Fewer than 1 percent of Australians paid for consumer goods with cryptocurrency in 2019, according to a study published Thursday by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), Australia’s central bank.

Revealed in RBA’s triennial Consumer Payments Survey (CPS), the findings from about 1,100 respondents shows that while consumers are largely embracing digital and alternative payment methods over cash, they’re just not paying in crypto. RBA conducted the survey in October and November 2019.

The low usage comes in spite of respondents’ overwhelming awareness that cryptocurrency can be used to pay for goods. Over 80 percent said they’d heard of crypto, making it the third-most recognized “alternative payment method” the bank surveyed for, behind only “buy now pay later” services and “tap and go” mobile payments.

Crypto was by far the least-used alternative method, falling behind those as well as AliPay and WeChat Pay, bank-owned “PayID” and “Beem It” services, and in-app mobile payment options. Crypto had the worst usage-to-awareness ratio by far, the survey showed. 

“Although many respondents had heard of ‘cryptocurrencies’, very few had used a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin to actually make a consumer payment over the past year,” RBA said.

The bank has previously cast doubt on crypto’s potential to overtake existing payment rails.

This appears to be the first time that RBA’s CPS survey asked respondents about cryptocurrency. The survey had been conducted on five previous occasions.

RBA found that cash use in Australia is down in 2019, especially among younger demographics such as those under 40, who paid by cash in just 15 percent of recorded transactions. Even older groups are moving away from cash, the survey found. But it remains the most popular payment method for those 65 and up. 

The survey also found that mobile payment methods are on the rise. That growth is being driven by younger demographics as well. 

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