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Bitcoin awareness, ownership and use: 2016–20

Daniela Balutel, Marie-Hélène Felt, Gradon Nicholls and Marcel Voia

Applied Economics, 2024, vol. 56, issue 1, 33-58

Abstract: Since 2016, the Bank of Canada has conducted annual surveys to monitor awareness, adoption and usage of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. This report incorporates results from the 2019 Bitcoin Omnibus Survey and the November 2020 Cash Alternative Survey. We find that between 2018 and 2020, the level of Bitcoin awareness and ownership among Canadians remained stable: nearly 90% of the population were aware of Bitcoin, while only 5% owned it. We find that about half of Bitcoin owners stated they usually obtained their bitcoins through mobile or web exchanges, while one-fifth used mining. Bitcoin owners were susceptible to certain risks, as evidenced by the fact that about half of current and past owners stated they had been affected by events such as price crashes, losing access to funds, scams or data breaches. The most commonly cited reasons for owning Bitcoin were related to its use for investment or based on interest in the technology. Bitcoin owners displayed greater knowledge about the Bitcoin network than nonowners, yet they scored lower on questions testing financial literacy.

Date: 2024
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Working Paper: Bitcoin Awareness, Ownership and Use: 2016–20 (2022) Downloads
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DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2023.2166667

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