Will You Use Alternative Currency Like Bitcoin?

As buzz about Bitcoin, a five-year-old cryptocurrency, continues to build, the question is often asked – will consumers embrace this alternative currency?

A new nationwide survey conducted for TheStreet (NASDAQ: TST) by GfK answers that question with a resounding “no,” showing that consumers do not understand Bitcoin and have little interest in owning it.

“While Bitcoin has attracted the attention of influential hedge fund managers and the research desks of major U.S. banks, an overwhelming majority of Americans remain unaware of cryptocurrency. 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,” said Joe Deaux, TheStreet’s Economics Analyst.

“But TheStreet’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.”

Will You Use Alternative Currency Like Bitcoin?
Will You Use Alternative Currency Like Bitcoin?

As a whole, consumers were unfamiliar and uncomfortable with the idea of owning Bitcoin. Of those surveyed:

  • 76% are not familiar with Bitcoin
  • 79% have never and would never consider using an alternative form of currency like Bitcoin
  • 80% would rather own gold instead of Bitcoin
  • 38% believe that Bitcoin hurts the U.S. Dollar

Though not more likely than others to be familiar with the term Bitcoin, younger consumers were more likely than their older counterparts to embrace the idea of Bitcoin once it was described to them. Of those surveyed:

  • 32% of 18-24 year-olds would consider using an alternative form of currency like Bitcoin versus just 11% of those over 65
  • 15% of 18-24 year-olds would rather own Bitcoin instead of gold versus 4% of those over 65
  • 57% 18-24 year-olds believe that Bitcoin helps the global economy versus 14% of those over 65
  • 33% of 18-24 year-olds believe that Bitcoin helps the U.S. Dollar versus only 10% of those over 65

Omnitel is a weekly national telephone omnibus service from GfK, a division of GfK Custom Research North America.

The sample for this Omnitel wave consists of 1,005 total completed interviews, of which approximately 750 consist of landline telephone exchanges and about 250 are made up of cell phone exchanges.

Interviews were conducted from January 24-26, 2014. The survey results were released Wednesday, Feb. 5.

TheStreet, Inc. (www.t.st) is a leading independent digital financial media company providing business and financial news, investing ideas and analysis to personal and institutional investors worldwide.

RMN News

Rakesh Raman