Less than a third of Britons questioned in a poll carried out by On Device Research said they had heard of the digital bitcoin currency, but many of those who are aware of it (38%) agree that it will be the currency of the future.
The poll, conducted by On Device Research in association with st-art, organisers of a forthcoming bitcoin conference in London on 2 July, also found high levels of confidence in the future of bitcoin in the US and Argentina, the two other territories where the research was conducted.
Nearly seven out of 10 Britons who had heard of bitcoin said that they trusted the digital currency, with 14% saying they trusted it more than the pound sterling. In Argentina, where bitcoin awareness is higher than in the UK or US, 73% of those who knew of the bitcoin said they trusted it, with 22% having more confidence in the bitcoin than the Argentine peso (ARS). Forty-four per cent of bitcoin-aware Argentinians said the currency’s appeal was because it spared them from having to deal with financial institutions.
In the US, 62% of bitcoin-aware Americans trusted the digital currency, with 16% having more trust in it than the US dollar. These rather high figures come despite recent security concerns raised by the American CFTC regulator about bitcoin - although for the tech savvy, who don’t want to deal with FGIs, there is an argument that is precisely because the digital currency is seen as an outsider that it is trusted.
“Confidence and awareness of bitcoin and digital currency is growing fast as perceptions of traditional currency have been hit hard by the recent financial crisis,” commented Pamir Gelenbe, founder of st-art and Hummingbird Ventures Venture Partner.
“While negative perceptions of the national currency and high levels of confidence in bitcoin might not come as such a surprise in Argentina, the data from the UK and US is more striking - with high levels of awareness and a strong feeling that digital currencies are the future.
“Digital currency also represents a significant opportunity to help the four billion people on this planet that don't have bank accounts - bitcoin makes it possible to hold money on a phone or PC and transfer money seamlessly from anywhere to anywhere in a split second, without expensive wire transfer fees. Over time, these ‘unbanked’ consumers around the world will adopt bitcoin - just like they have adopted mobile phones - and use it to store and transfer their money.”