20% of people said they don’t currently use them but plan to in the next year, Covid-19 concerns could accelerate adoption

Awareness and use trends already high

Crypto.com sponsored The Economist Intelligence Unit to dig deeper into the general public’s behaviors and opinions around digital payments -- such as drivers, barriers and trust factors -- and the evolution of a cashless future.

This research comes at an interesting time for the cryptocurrency world: The global crisis has helped push the U.S. national debt to an unprecedented $24 trillion last week, bringing with it concerns around a post-pandemic recession driven by hyperinflation. This, coupled with widespread quantitative easing efforts by governments that may end up benefiting crypto markets, has reignited interest in top-performing cryptocurrencies like BTC that offer protection via their store of value properties.

Even before the world was hit by COVID-19, digital currencies were seeing strong traction, particularly in the form of central bank digital currencies (CBDC): Sweden’s Riksbank has been working on a central bank-issued digital krona, the European Central Bank stated last December that it’s seriously evaluating a CDBC, and China has been preparing a digital yuan for years.

These converging trends represent an ideal time to present our research assessing the general public’s readiness for more widespread digital currency. We’re excited to announce a new interactive digital currency hub hosted on The Economist, https://digitalcurrency.economist.com/, and a white paper, Digimentality —Fear and Favouring of Digital Currency, outlining the findings from our research on consumer attitudes towards digital currencies.

Key findings:

  • 85% of survey respondents have owned, used or heard of decentralized digital currency such as a cryptocurrency
  • Digital currencies showed the most growth opportunity for payments:
  • 20% said they don’t currently use them but plan to in the next year, higher than any other payment method studied in the research, and a trend that may accelerate as a result of COVID-19.
  • 34% of respondents considered online payments to be digital currency’s main function, while only 24% cited “short-term investment” as a reason for its use.
  • 54% of respondents said they would consider a digital currency issued by their government (e.g. CBDC) trustworthy, compared to only 26% who said the same about currently available cryptocurrencies; however, cryptocurrency was the most recognized type of digital currency in the study.

“Our report showed that while the use of cryptocurrencies amongst the general public is low, people are very curious and optimistic about them for the future,” said Kris Marszalek, CEO of Crypto.com. “This bodes very well for our industry and comes at a pivotal time when trust in financial markets is wavering and more people are turning their attention to the growing range of digital currencies that continue to present a clear plan B to our traditional financial structures. We still have much work to do to get crypto into every wallet, but that mission is much more difficult without valuable insights into what the general public is thinking.”

Comparing With Crypto.com’s Users Base

This made us wonder whether the crypto community has a different “digimentality” compared to the general public surveyed in The Economist Intelligence Unit research. Would these early adopters and enthusiasts feel differently about digital payments? If so, what would that tell us?

To test our hypothesis, we conducted the same survey on a sample group of our Crypto.com app users and as we expected, attitudes among crypto users varied from the general public:

Crypto.com app users think that the main use case for cryptocurrencies is long-term investment while the general public thinks the main use is for online payments. Clearly there's a discrepancy in the attitudes between day-to-day usage vs investment between the two groups:

Both Crypto.com app users and the general public believe that the main adoption barrier for digital currencies (including cryptocurrencies) is simply that the’re not well understood, though the general public feels insecure technology is a stronger barrier than do Crypto.com users:

No one knows what the next year, month or even week will bring us in this challenging climate, however it seems increasingly clear that both early adopters and the general public hold serious optimism when it comes to digital currencies. It is perhaps not surprising that the two groups hold differing views around utility, trust and the underlying technology, but both agreed that digital currencies have a key role in a cashless future.

For more details on the Crypto.com survey, please visit our Crypto.com research hub https://digitalcurrency.economist.com/