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Bitcoin awareness and usage in Canada

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Bitcoin, digital currencies and FinTech have been the subject of vigorous discussion. There has, however, been limited empirical evidence of its adoption and usage. This paper proposes a methodology to collect a nationally representative sample via the Bitcoin Omnibus Survey (BTCOS) in order to track the ubiquity and usage of Bitcoin in Canada. The paper reveals that about 64 per cent of Canadians have heard of Bitcoin, but only 2.9 per cent own it. Awareness of Bitcoin is strongly associated with men, and those with college or university education; additionally, Bitcoin awareness is more concentrated among unemployed individuals. On the other hand, Bitcoin ownership is associated with younger age groups and a high school education. Furthermore, the current authors have constructed a test of Bitcoin characteristics to attempt to gauge the level of knowledge held by respondents who were aware of Bitcoin, including actual owners. Knowledge is positively correlated with Bitcoin adoption. This paper attempts to reconcile the difference in awareness and ownership by deconstructing the transaction and store-of-value motive for holding Bitcoin. The paper concludes with some suggestions to improve future digital currency surveys, in particular to achieve precise estimates from the hard-to-reach population of digital currency users.
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Keywords: Bitcoin; FinTech; digital currencies; surveys

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 May 2018

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  • Journal of Digital Banking is the major new professional journal publishing in-depth, peer-reviewed articles and case studies on how to develop a profitable, customer-focused digital banking strategy – specifically by using technology and automation to deliver efficient, secure and seamless customer experiences with lower operating costs.

    Each quarterly 100-page issue – published in print and online – will feature detailed, practical articles showcasing the latest strategic thinking on how to exploit new and existing digital banking markets, technologies and business models along with actionable advice and ‘lessons learned’ from fellow digital banking professionals on the key business, risk and operational requirements for putting that strategy into practice. It will not publish advertising but rather in-depth analysis of new thinking and practice at a wide range of financial institutions, financial technology innovators, central banks and financial regulators worldwide for readers to benchmark their organisation against, with every article being peer-reviewed by an expert Editorial Board to ensure that it focuses on the digital banking professional’s perspective, the challenges they face and how they can tackle them.

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