Key Findings:

  • Over the past year, more people In Canada have searched for “Bitcoin” on Google than “Banks” or “Kim Kardashian”
  • 76% of Canadian participants were familiar with the concept of Cryptocurrency. From those 76% – 97% are already aware of what Bitcoin is.
  • The awareness of Bitcoin is moving towards the mainstream, the Oxford English Dictionary recently added the word “Satoshi”, which is the smallest unit of a Bitcoin.

Cryptocurrency has come a long way since its early days as “ecash” in the 1980s. Now, there are more than 1,000 cryptocurrencies in use, and the ownership and awareness just keeps growing. Bitcoin, arguably the most well-known cryptocurrency in use, has grown exponentially since its inception in 2008, particularly in Canada. Did you know: on average, Canadians searched for “Bitcoin” more than “Kim Kardashian” or “Banks”, in the past year. Using the data provided by a survey conducted by CorbinPartners between July 5th and October 29th, 2018, this article will discuss the increased cryptocurrency adoption and rising awareness in Canada. Read article.

Increased Awareness

Familiarity with Cryptocurrency In Canada

” 76% of respondents are familiar with the concept of cryptocurrency. Of those 76% of Canadians, 97% of them are already aware of what Bitcoin is”

In mid-to-late 2018, the Corbin partners interviewed 1,226 respondents across Canada in an effort to gauge just how noteworthy Bitcoin has gotten. Of the 1,226 respondents surveyed, 76% knew what cryptocurrency was. That means approximately 930 Canadians – the size of a medium-sized Toronto high school or a rush-hour TTC train – already knew what cryptocurrency was. Of those 930 Canadians who said “yes” to knowing what cryptocurrency was, 97% of  them were already aware of what Bitcoin was. So, even if the concept of cryptocurrency was unfamiliar, the novelty of Bitcoin was not.  

Why is Bitcoin Rising?

If you think about how much the word “Bitcoin” is used in mainstream media, it’s not surprising that 97% of the people who knew what cryptocurrency was also knew what Bitcoin was. Bitcoin is also the most widely established currency in Canada and U.S, so it’s not too far-fetched to suggest that the awareness of Bitcoin is barreling towards the mainstream. For example, the Oxford English Dictionary recently added the word “Satoshi”, which is the smallest unit of a Bitcoin. Another example can be seen in Toronto, where there is a growing network of Bitcoin startups and Bitcoin ATMs, the quantity of which is second only to the U.S.  The government and Canadian banks are also making strident efforts to increase and strengthen cryptocurrency regulations. If you consider these efforts, and all the start-ups in Toronto, it would definitely appear that Bitcoin is here to stay. 

Bitcoin Vs. Traditional Currency

“One of the survey questions posed to non-Bitcoin users related to the perceived advantages of using Bitcoin compared to traditional currency. Of the 686 people who responded, 39% stated that global/cross-border usability seemed like the most advantageous quality of Bitcoin” 

Take a moment to consider why is Bitcoin rising and what Bitcoin-related advantages would motivate you to try it or purchase it. If you thought Bitcoin’s global fungibility or abstract physical form were an asset, you aren’t alone! Of the participants surveyed who hadn’t used Bitcoin before, 39% perceived its global/cross-border use as a big advantage. Considering Bitcoin originated as a digital currency, this makes sense. Bitcoin users don’t have to worry about international conversion rates, because digital currency is pretty much the same from every computer! Bitcoin users also don’t have to worry about sneaky hidden fees that are typically associated with making purchases in other parts of the world. Hypothetically, if you found yourself travelling overseas and desperately wanting that expensive item, you could potentially use your Bitcoin to pay for your travel costs without having to worry about conversion rates and cash. 

Google Searches

Going back to the moment we took to consider Bitcoin advantages, you might have put considerable weight on Bitcoin’s abstract physical form. Of the participants surveyed, 22% said that Bitcoin’s lack of a physical form (i.e. it’s not cash in your wallet, a cheque book, or plastic card) was a perceived advantage of the cryptocurrency. This does not come as a surprise, as more and more consumers are participating in cashless transactions such as Apple pay and Google pay, or Electronic Money Transfers. Additionally, most merchants viewed Bitcoin as a “valuable innovation”, speedy, convenient, and transactionally more cost-effective as compared to debit or credit cards. If a customer is paying for goods with Bitcoin, a vendor doesn’t have to worry about paying administrative fees to the banks when debit or credit is used. It seems like, from both sides of the transaction, Bitcoin’s physical form – or lack thereof – is a big plus. 

Bitcoin vs Kim Kardashian

“Over the past year, more people In Canada have searched for “Bitcoin” on Google than “Banks” or “Kim Kardashian”

If the survey statistics we’ve discussed so far aren’t convincing enough, take a look at the Google search trends captured between November 1st, 2018 and September 1st, 2019. On average, more people searched for “Bitcoin” than they did for “Kim Kardashian”, and that’s someone who has more than 150 million followers on Instagram, more than 62 million followers on Twitter, and 17 seasons of a reality TV show. If a person with more followers than three times the population of Canada can be out-searched by a currency that has only been around for 10 years, what does that mean for the future awareness of Bitcoin? At the very least, the search results do indicate that Bitcoin has finally penetrated the collective conscious of Canadians, and it has become mainstream

Bitcoin Market Cap 
Apple Market Cap 
Google Market Cap 
IBM Market Cap
JP Morgan Market Cap 
Canopy Growth Market Cap 
Shopify Market Cap

To help put cryptocurrency adoption in perspective, this graphic is a comparison of Bitcoin’s market cap with other disruptive companies. As you can see from the graphic, Bitcoin has already managed to outpace IBM (a 100 year-old company), Shopify and Canopy Growth. It would be remarkable if Bitcoin could outpace JPMorgan, one of America’s “Big Four” banks, and land in behind Google, but that might take a while.

Increased Ownership

Acquiring Bitcoin for the first time

Have you ever considered owning Bitcoin? If so, what would the factor that motivated you to finally purchase, or at least use, Bitcoin? Maybe it would be the sheer novelty of using digital currency, and throwing yourself into the future. Or, maybe it would be because you’ve been reading up on investment opportunities and want to expand your portfolio. Regardless of why, there is something that intrigues you. From the survey respondents who were Bitcoin owners/users, 39% said the reason they got Bitcoin for the first time was because they just wanted to try it. That means that approximately 86 people decided to acquire Bitcoin just to see what it was like! That’s a pretty bold decision to make for such an experiential feeling. 

Besides the experiential users, a third of people who got Bitcoin said they got it for investment purposes. That means, those users had likely done a bit of research into the value of Bitcoin, and were interested in its growth over the last few years. If you are among the people who have heard of Bitcoin, have you done any research into the investment potential of this currency? Even if you haven’t researched Bitcoin with that goal in mind, the amount of startups in Toronto, not to mention the startups in the U.S., does speak to the value of Bitcoin ownership. 

Crypto is going mainstream

Awareness of Bitcoin has jumped almost a third in one year, with approximately 96% of Canadians claiming they have heard of Bitcoin. The establishment of the Blockchain Research Institute in Toronto, intended to expand Blockchain-based economies worldwide, is further evidence of a growing acknowledgement of Bitcoin’s value and the importance of investing in this currency. WIth the growing security measures, regulations, and popularity, it seems like cryptocurrency adoption in Canada is on a very steady rise. If you aren’t convinced by the survey data, let the Google trends speak louder: Bitcoin is being searched more frequently than Kim Kardashian, a person who has more followers than the entire population of Russia. If you were one of the people who had heard of but never used Bitcoin, are you thinking about trying it out now? You’re probably not alone.

Sources and methodology: All data referenced comes either from public sources, or from a survey conducted between July 5th and October 29th, 2018, by CorbinPartners. The Corbin partners interviewed 1,226 qualified respondents across Canada, employing the field services of Canada Viewpoint Inc. A reputable data collection provider and member of numerous market research industry associations.

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