Coin Center’s new Bitcoin Public Sentiment Survey | Coin Center

Coin Center’s new Bitcoin Public Sentiment Survey

The first study that attempts to measure the attitudes of the American public toward Bitcoin in an unbiased and objective way.

Today we announce the first results from our ongoing Coin Center Bitcoin Public Sentiment Survey. This is the first study that attempts to measure the attitudes of the American public toward Bitcoin in an unbiased and objective way.

There is no doubt that Bitcoin is in its infancy. We are still on the bleeding edge of the technology adoption cycle and it is only now beginning to emerge as a viable option for mainstream users. In other words, we’ve got a long road ahead before my grandmother is trading cryptocurrency and notarizing her important documents with a blockchain (despite my best efforts).

Metrics

Several metrics are currently used by other observers to measure the scope and vibrancy of the  Bitcoin ecosystem, such as transaction volume or network size. Blockchain.info, particularly, has provided an invaluable service by making many of these metrics available in intuitive charts and graphs.These technological measures, while extremely useful for measuring Bitcoin itself, cannot answer qualitative (I like to say squishy) questions about Bitcoin’s public perception.

It’s our hope that this survey will become an invaluable measure for all who are working to better understand this technology and its growing role in society.

Methodology

The data we released today draws from five months of surveys to establish a baseline. We’re running the survey with Google Consumer Surveys, an online tool that has been lauded as highly accurate (one of the best online polling tools when it comes to predicting presidential elections!). The survey sample comes from what google calls the “General Population

in the United States on the Google Consumer Surveys publisher network.” Basically that’s people who come across paywall websites and choose to answer surveys rather than subscribe to the publication. If that sounds like a biased sample, then worry not. Google helps identify the respondents by gender, age, and income and weights the responses in order to better simulate the General American population [PDF].

Results

The results are more or less in line with what we expected: People still don’t really know about Bitcoin. Despite the wave of news coverage over the last couple of years, around 65% of respondents were not familiar at all with it. Of those respondents who are familiar with Bitcoin, consistently over 80% have never actually used it.

Particularly interesting are our measures of trust and usefulness. Respondents were asked

“Given what you know, how much do you trust or distrust Bitcoin?” and “Given what you know, how useful or not useful do you think Bitcoin is as of today?” We’ve graphed these responses on ourpoll page and you can scrub through each month of data. Our goal is to get everyone into the upper right quadrant (Strongly Trust and Very Useful), but it’s going to take time.

It is clear that there is more work to be done. Public policy generally reflects public sentiment on a subject. That’s why such a profound lack of familiarity is particularly alarming. It’s also an opportunity, however. What we see is a large gap in public understanding of Bitcoin, and part of our mission is to help close this gap so that any policy decisions made with respect to Bitcoin are well informed, good for competition, economic growth, and technological innovation.

Based in Washington, D.C., Coin Center is the leading non-profit research and advocacy center focused on the public policy issues facing cryptocurrency and decentralized computing technologies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Our mission is to build a better understanding of these technologies and to promote a regulatory climate that preserves the freedom to innovate using permisionless blockchain technologies.