Despite Digital Currency Developments, Bitcoin Market Awareness Lags

Despite significant strides by digital currency companies to bring the technology into the mainstream, market awareness of Bitcoin – the most prominent virtual currency – remains stagnant, according to a Morning Consult poll.

Forty-five percent of registered voters surveyed this month said they had heard “a lot” or “some” about Bitcoin, compared with 48 percent in August.

Each poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

The eight months between the two polls saw several notable developments in the digital currency market that might have helped it dispel a reputation as a space for criminals and techy speculators. Last month, Nasdaq announced it would lend its trading technology to startup Noble Markets, a Bitcoin-trading platform. Meanwhile, a number of blue-chip executives from companies like JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley have joined digital currency companies.

But the Bitcoin news hasn’t all been good. The currency’s notoriously volatile value declined through 2014 before suddenly sliding 30 percent in January. It has since rebounded somewhat but remains below its level before the slide.

That volatility could be an obstacle to mass adoption: just 19 percent of voters in the recent poll said they were likely to consider using Bitcoin to purchase goods and services.

A piece of good news for Bitcoin was its higher-than-average adoption rates among the young and educated.

Among 18- to 29-year-olds, 33 percent said they were likely to use the virtual currency, and the proportion was even higher – 36 percent – for ages 30 to 44. For those with bachelors’ degrees, the figure was 29 percent.

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Hispanics were also more likely than the average voter to consider Bitcoin at 31 percent, along with African-Americans at 29 percent.

This month’s poll was conducted April 5 through April 7 among a national sample of 2,047 registered voters. The previous nationwide poll was conducted Aug. 1 through Aug. 3 among 1,825 registered voters.

Morning Consult