Most Americans Still Don’t Trust Bitcoin Despite Widespread Awareness, New Survey Shows
Report also sheds light on Americans’ opinions on Bitcoin regulation, its value as an investment, and differences of opinion between men and women, different ages and different regions.
Almost half (48%) of American adults know what Bitcoin is, but most of those aware of Bitcoin do not trust it enough to invest in it over gold, according to a new survey conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Yodlee, the platform for financial innovation, in December 2013 among 2,039 adults ages 18 and older. The cryptocurrency’s value has seen huge gains over the past year, but the survey suggests Americans are still uncertain of its reliability and usefulness as a mainstream currency.
On Consumer Trust of Bitcoin:
The survey found that while nearly half (48 percent) of American adults know what Bitcoin is, trust in the currency among that group is very low. Only 13 percent said they would choose it as an investment over gold.
In fact, increased knowledge of Bitcoin can correspond to reduced trust in it, the survey found. People from America’s Western states are more likely to know about Bitcoin than people from the South or Midwest (55 percent, compared to 46 percent in the South and 41 percent in the Midwest). However, only 7 percent of Westerners who know what Bitcoin is would choose to invest in Bitcoin over gold – the lowest percentage of any region.
“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 tend to be the biggest Bitcoin supporters. Twenty percent of Americans aged 18-34 who know what Bitcoin is said they would choose to invest in Bitcoin over gold – making this group over twice as likely as those age 55+ (8%) to do the same. Young adults aged 18-34 who know what Bitcoin is are also far more supportive of Bitcoin’s libertarian values: 39 percent were not in favor of any government being able to regulate Bitcoin, compared to, 28 percent aged 45-54 and 24 percent aged 55 and older.
On Regulating Bitcoin:
Americans’ attitudes about Bitcoin regulation are equally confused. When asked if any government should be allowed to regulate Bitcoin, nearly half (45 percent) of Americans who knew about the cryptocurrency said they were unsure. Of those with a firm opinion, 44 percent said a government should be allowed to regulate it and 56 percent said no government should be able to do this.
The survey also revealed a strong male bias in terms of Bitcoin awareness. When asked if they knew what Bitcoin is, only 35 percent of women across the country said yes, compared to 63 percent of men. These gender differences also extend to Bitcoin regulation. Women are far less opinionated about the issue, with 53 percent of those who know what Bitcoin is being unsure whether government regulation should be allowed compared to 40 percent of men.
This increased awareness has not convinced Americans of Bitcoin’s value. The two sexes (men and women who know what Bitcoin is) are equally unenthusiastic about adopting the currency themselves, with only 14 percent of men and 10 percent of women preferring Bitcoin as an investment over gold.
· U.S. adults with higher household income are more likely to both know about and want to risk money investing in Bitcoin. Sixty-one percent of those whose household income is $100,000 or more per year have heard of Bitcoin, and 20 percent of those people would choose it as an investment over gold. Both percentages are the highest of any household income range.
· Men aged 18-34 who know what Bitcoin is are among the biggest Bitcoin fans: 22 percent would choose it over gold, significantly more likely to say this than men age 55+; while women aged 55-64 are the most skeptical: only 4 percent would choose it over gold.
· The Northeast is America’s most pro-Bitcoin region. Fifty-one percent of adults in this region know what the cryptocurrency is – the second-most of any region – and a nation-leading 19 percent of those Bitcoin-aware people would choose to invest in it over gold.
· The South and the Midwest are not as knowledgeable about Bitcoin as the West or the Northeast but are moderately interested in investing in it:
- 46 percent of people in the South have heard of Bitcoin, and 12 percent of those people would choose to invest in it over gold.
- 41 percent of in the Midwest have heard of Bitcoin, and 15 percent of those people would choose to invest in it over gold.
· Trust in Bitcoin is still quite low across most age ranges. Percentages of people who are aware of Bitcoin and would choose to invest in Bitcoin over gold:
- 18-34: 20 percent
- 35-44: 12 percent
- 45-54: 13 percent
- 55-64: 7 percent
- 65+: 8 percent
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. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please email
Yodlee is a leading technology and applications platform powering dynamic, cloud-based innovation for digital financial services. More than 750 companies in over 10 countries, including 9 of the 15 largest U.S. banks and hundreds of Internet services companies, subscribe to the Yodlee platform to power personalized financial apps and services for millions of consumers. Yodlee solutions help transform the speed and delivery of financial innovation, improve digital customer experiences, and deepen customer engagement.
Yodlee is headquartered in Redwood City, CA with global offices in London and Bangalore. For more information, visit www.yodlee.com.
About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client’s research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us -- and our clients -- stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit http://www.harrisinteractive.com.
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