A new study published by the Bitcoin Investment Trust (BIT), the public investment fund owned by SecondMarket, found that the more the general public understands the peer-to-peer decentralized digital currency the more they like it. Essentially, more knowledge incites optimism regarding its financial future.
Speaking with more than 1,000 individuals from Silicon Valley, Wall Street and the bitcoin communities, the report discovered that as soon as people discovered bitcoin and learned about the intricacies behind it, more than two-thirds (68 percent) maintained a positive outlook and thought it would solve some of the biggest issues facing the world today.
Half who had first learned about bitcoin said they found it to be “intellectually interesting” and about one-third (30 percent) stated that it was confusing or it would never be fully implemented by the establishment worldwide.
Two-thirds also say they plan to purchase bitcoins this year. Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) believe bitcoin will transform into a legitimate, viable alternative currency. After learning more about bitcoin, more than four-fifths (83 percent) said they became more positive about the technology and its potential applications.
The poll found that close to half (45 percent) of respondents said they heard about bitcoin last year, nearly one-quarter (22 percent) noted that they first learned about the virtual currency in 2012 and 30 percent reported learning of bitcoin between 2009 and 2011.
Thirty-five percent first discovered the cryptocurrency by perusing a blog or on social media. Nearly one-fifth (19 percent) heard about bitcoin from a friend or family member and 18 percent read about bitcoin in a newspaper, magazine or other type of publication.
Although the results show that public perception is changing, some are skeptical about the study because previous studies have found that a majority of consumers have either never heard of bitcoin or think it’s going to meet its ultimate demise.
BIT even noted at the bottom of its infographic that there was a selection bias and therefore respondents were more knowledgeable than the general public.
For instance, a February poll from TheStreet discovered that 76 percent of Americans were unaware of bitcoin, while 79 percent of survey participants said they would never consider purchasing the virtual currency.
A March survey, meanwhile, also found that there were still a significant number of people who were oblivious to the digital currency. In fact, even when they were informed about it, close to half (48 percent) said they would still prefer to invest their money into gold rather than bitcoin.
“Bitcoin will be hard for consumers to understand and trust on a large scale until secure, user-friendly tools and services emerge to make it as convenient and safe as possible to use,” Tim O’Brien, Yodlee’s senior vice president of operations and information security, said in statement.
At the time of this writing, bitcoin is trading at around $450, still substantially lower from its near all-time high of $1,200 late last year.
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