Bitcoin has steadily grown in popularity throughout the years. The digital currency has gained enough attention that there are even ATMs sprouting up in the U.S. where you can withdraw money from your Bitcoin amount. With the newly released IRS clarification notice that Bitcoin is indeed classified as property and not currency, how do Americans feel about the digital currency?
While Bitcoin has gained some publicity in the last few years, it also doesn’t have the best reputation, with the digital currency’s founder charged with conspiring to launder more than $1 million, as well as alleged ties to the online bazaar Silk Road.
The question remains, how do Americans feel about the digital currency?
Who is aware of its existence? How many people feel Bitcoin is a viable currency? These are some of the questions answered in a survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Yodlee, a platform for financial innovation. The survey was conducted in December 2013 among 2,000 adults ages 18 and older and provides one of the first insights on Bitcoin statistics.
Here are highlights of the results conducted from the survey:
- 48 percent know what Bitcoin is.
- Only 13 percent said they would choose Bitcoin over gold as an investment.
- People in America’s Western states are more likely to be knowledgeable about Bitcoin.
- Only 7 percent of the people in the West would invest in it.
“The financial industry benefits greatly from disruptive technology, but security is unfortunately a bigger challenge than some new financial innovators expect.” said Tim O’Brien, Yodlee’s senior vice president of operations and information security. “Bitcoin has addressed some major opportunities in the financial system, but the vulnerability of some Bitcoin exchanges, along with the currency’s overall volatility, are still serious issues. Bitcoin will be hard for consumers to understand and trust on a large scale until secure, user-friendly tools and services emerge to make it as convenient and safe as possible to use.”
Young adults favor Bitcoin
The survey reveals that younger adults favor Bitcoin over all other age groups. These are percentages of people who would invest in Bitcoin over gold:
- Ages 18-34: 20 percent
- Ages 35-44: 12 percent
- Ages 45-54: 13 percent
- Ages 55-64: 7 percent
- Ages 65+: 8 percent
Americans appear to be extremely confused on how to feel about regulating Bitcoin. Of the Americans who knew about Bitcoin, about 45 percent said they were unsure if the cryptocurrency should be regulated or not. Of those that did have a firm opinion, 44 percent said the government should be allowed to regulate Bitcoin, while 56 percent said the government has no right to regulate it.
Additionally, men are more likely to know about Bitcoin over women. The survey shows that only 35 percent of women across the country are aware of Bitcoin’s existence, compared to 63 percent of men.
Wealthier households are more inclined to be aware of Bitcoin’s existence — 61 percent of people with a household income of $100,000 or more per year know what Bitcoin is, and 20 percent of those people are willing to invest into it over gold. These are the two highest percentages of any household income range.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Yodlee from December 6-10, 2013 among 2,039 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 912 are aware of Bitcoin.
Check out this video from Forbes to see a Bitcoin ATM in action.