By Bloomberg
January 24, 2018

Chances are, you’ve heard of Bitcoin. But the odds are much smaller that you actually have a stake in it.

Nearly 60 percent of Americans have heard or read about the world’s largest cryptocurrency, according to a joint SurveyMonkey and Global Blockchain Business Council poll of more than 5,700 adults conducted in January. But only 5 percent of people actually own the digital coin.

Those few Bitcoin investors are of a fairly consistent demographic. An overwhelming 71 percent of them are male. The majority — 58 percent — are young, between the ages of 18 and 34 years old. And unlike the broader U.S. population, nearly half of them are minorities.

When asked why they bought the crypto asset, investors answered that a combination of a lack of trust and an opportunity for return are at play. About one-third of Bitcoin owners said it was a means to avoid government regulation — 24 percent also said they trust Bitcoin more than the U.S. government in a separate question — and about two in 10 saw it as a hedge against crashes in traditional assets. More than 60 percent also said that buying the digital coin was seen as a growth investment.

Last year, that investment largely paid off. The cryptocurrency skyrocketed more than 1,400 percent in 2017, reaching a high of more than $19,500 last month. But much of that gain has been given back — Bitcoin has fallen by almost half since December, now trading near $11,000, according to Bloomberg composite data.

Roughly 70 percent of those surveyed this month said Bitcoin will be worth somewhat to significantly more five years from now. But 38 percent also said they see it as a bubble that’s poised to pop this year. Around 41 percent of Bitcoin owners said the same.

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