Almost One In Three Americans Believe Cryptocurrency is for Crime

November 16, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

Granted, cryptocurrency is not a real big part of people’s lives these days. For some, it’s an investment flier, for others a novelty. Some may have even used it to buy certain things anonymously, legal or otherwise. It’s that “otherwise” that’s giving many pause, and a recent report sent our way from Turner Little reveals that a lot of Americans actually think cryptocurrencies are basically exclusively for criminal acts.

Almost one in three—29 percent, according to the Turner Little study, which took its cues from YouGov data—Americans believe that currencies like Etherium, bitcoin and a host of others are basically only used to make transactions on the “dark web,” and generally for illegal products. That’s not the only bizarre misconception, however; just 35 percent of Americans believe that cryptocurrencies will see wider acceptance in the next 10 years to come, while 51 percent believe that cryptocurrencies will not replace traditional currency.

Further, while bitcoin has little recognition problem—66 percent of Americans have heard of it—it does have a significant usage problem, as only 13 percent have used it. Etherium, the most popular cryptocurrency after bitcoin, had only been heard of with 24 percent of Americans, while 21 percent had actually used it. What’s more, despite the substantial number who think bitcoin is exclusively used for various crimes, 40 percent outright had no idea what bitcoin was used for at all.

That’s a fairly wide range of attitudes, and most of it geared against cryptocurrencies. While there’s little worry that cryptocurrency will outright replace cash—you can count me among the people who think that won’t happen in 10 years—there’s more use for it here than just “illegal stuff.” That’s a serious misconception; just ask the folks at Overstock.com who have been taking bitcoin since sometime in 2014.

However, this does point out a serious issue; there are many misconceptions around cryptocurrency, and some education on this matter would likely not go amiss. If cryptocurrency is to become any real mobile payment system, it’s going to have to be accessible and familiar. Accessibility is improving, but this study proves that familiarity is far from achieved.