Bitcoin’s reputation, perception, and acceptance levels run the gamut worldwide. Acceptance in the U.S., China, and Australia is relatively strong. Some nations seek to suppress it through legislation and even ban it in places like Russia and Bangladesh. And if you have poor internet connectivity, you are destined to be on the outside looking in when it comes to the “Internet of Money.”
Now, a national survey of Great Britain’s citizenry has been produced by the Digital Currency Council in the United States, in association with Reputation Leaders from the United Kingdom. This survey took place on October 1st, with online interviews of 527 nationally representative adults in the UK. So what does the average British citizen think of Bitcoin now, and going forward?
UK Survey Results
As a point of reference, On Device Research held a survey back in the summer of 2013 to gauge reception of Bitcoin’s impact on the consumer market. Less than one-third of those involved in the survey had ever heard of Bitcoin. At that time, it was higher than the average American’s awareness (25%), but lower than Argentina’s (38%).
In this new 2014 survey, awareness of Bitcoin has more than doubled to 71% in the United Kingdom, having passed major players like MoneyGram. So a lot has changed in less than 18 months, but the actual perception of the currency is not very good. 24% had a negative view of it, higher than any other payment system, while only 13% were very positive about its use. The fact that over 70% had no clear opinion of it may indeed be the most telling, and indicates a general lack of experience/understanding of it. PayPal had by far the most positive response with 69% approving of it. Western Union only had mild support of 29%, which can be seen as an opportunity for Bitcoin’s growth. Western Union doesn’t seem to be in favor and UK’s beloved PayPal is building a relationship with Bitcoin as we speak, so the foundation looks good for Bitcoin in the UK going forward.
The top three places where the UK sees room for improvement with Bitcoin include the inability to spend it easily through merchants (45%). The lack of general usage by consumers (40%) was cited and the general lack of understanding of how Bitcoin works (38%).
As a certified member of the Digital Currency Council myself, I also appreciate the ground the DCC has made in branding and awareness in this realm. 35% of those surveyed would look to a certified member of the Digital Currency Council for advice about Bitcoin over a financial advisor (28%), accountant (18%) or lawyer/attorney (12%).
Fear of the unknown is a common theme when it comes to Bitcoins acceptance or lack thereof. The more people talk about it, learn about it, and see it being used in the real world, the quicker it will join the mainstream. Whenever I meet people and explain Bitcoin and what I do, they are generally intrigued. Word-of-mouth is the greatest advertising method known to man, so talk to those you know, drop a couple of seeds of knowledge, and get them thinking about Bitcoin. As fiat currencies continue to struggle with debt crisis worldwide, more and more people are starting to appreciate the inherent value of Bitcoin.
What should people do if they want to learn more about Bitcoin? Is Western Union ready to be taken by Bitcoin? Share and comment below.