Bank of Canada Survey: Increase in Canada’s Ownership and Awareness of Bitcoin
This week, the Bank of Canada published a report titled Bitcoin Awareness and Usage in Canada: An Update, which chronicled the central bank’s recent findings regarding Bitcoin.
The publication makes use of a survey conducted between December 12th to December 15th last year, making note of some significant findings regarding how Bitcoin is perceived and used in Canada.
BoC: Bitcoin ownership increased significantly in Canada
According to the report, a higher portion of Canada’s population owned Bitcoin in 2017 than in the previous year. It found that increased public awareness of Bitcoin accompanied a significant increase in ownership, jumping from 2.9% in 2016 to 5% at the time of the survey.
Further, the Bank of Canada noted that the increase in ownership was less prominent in individuals that were previously aware of Bitcoin. It speculated that this indicates that members of the public that were “newly aware” of Bitcoin were responsible for a majority of the increase in ownership.
Additionally, the report found that growth in Bitcoin ownership was most prevalent in the 18-to-24 age group, which was already one of the “main users” of Bitcoin in 2016. Interestingly, the 45-to-54 age group observed a growth in ownership “almost four times over,” increasing from 0.9% to 3.5%.
Speaking on the gender gap in Bitcoin ownership, the report stated that it was exacerbated between 2016 and 2017. Ownership among women, it found, remained around 2%, while ownership nearly doubled among men from 4.2% to 8.1%.
‘Level of awareness of Bitcoin increased from 64% to 85%’
When asked, “Have you heard of Bitcoin?” respondents in Canada were, as a whole, more aware of Bitcoin than in the previous year.
As the report stated, the “level of awareness in the Canadian population rose 21 percentage points from 2016 to 2017, from 64 to 85 per cent.” This increase in awareness was observed across all demographics in Canada, and Quebec saw the largest increase in awareness, rising from 49% to 77%.
Approximately half of respondents that owned Bitcoin said they do not use the digital currency to pay for goods and services or send money to others “at least once per year.” Of this half, 58% said they own Bitcoin “as an investment.”
The Bank of Canada noted this portion of the population as “non-transactors,” mentioning that understanding why people own Bitcoin has several implications for central banks. This is especially the case in Canada, as the country’s central bank previously published a paper exploring the merits and consequences of launching a central bank digital currency.
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