Bidness Etc recently had the chance to speak with David Berger, CEO of the Digital Currency Council, about the study his firm conducted on the UK sentiment toward bitcoin. Digital Currency Council is an association that provides training, certification, and ongoing support for professionals in the digital currency economy.
Q) From your research, what do you think is the primary reason that bitcoin’s negative reputation in the UK outweighs its positive reputation?
Thank you for taking the time to speak with me about our research. The Bitcoin Barometer showed that while 71 percent of the people in the UK have now heard of bitcoin, the digital currency does indeed suffer from an image problem. That negative perception is driven by a lack of adoption by merchants and consumers alike, as well as a lack of understanding of the currency’s benefits. Interestingly, the use of bitcoin for illicit purposes, which has been widely reported in the media, has had only a limited impact on this image problem.
Q) Awareness of bitcoin in the UK accounts for a staggering 71% according to your report. How does awareness impact adoption? What do you think the adoption rate will actually be in the next 2-3 years?
Awareness and adoption propel each other. In 2014, we saw an exponential increase in adoption, driven in large part by the media attention that drove awareness. There are 7 times more wallets than there were a year ago. Transaction volumes have increased to their highest levels ever. And over just the past two years, almost 100,000 merchants have begun accepting bitcoin. It’s hard to predict anything 2-3 years out, but the trend lines in terms of both awareness and adoption are quite clear.
Q) How does the DCC aim to improve the public perception of bitcoin in the UK?
The DCC aims to support professionals seeking to build their practices in the digital currency economy. Whatever the perception, it’s clear that bitcoin is a permanent and growing part of our lives. The DCC will ensure that professionals – whether lawyers, accountants, financial professionals, or others – are prepared, and capture the opportunity to build practices related to the digital currency.