A recent survey conducted in the United Kingdom found that 9% of the total population of the country currently owns Bitcoin. This is a considerable number, suggesting that nearly 1 out of every 10 people navigated their way through the intricacies of the crypto-sphere to purchase BTC. The survey further found that 36% knew someone that had purchased Bitcoin. While this is far from overtaking traditional assets, it suggests that digital currency is rapidly finding itself in the greater field of investment options.
These numbers seem roughly in line with previous reports on other countries. The United States is slightly lower at 8% of the total population. Canada’s overall ownership is lower at 5% – but they saw an increase of 73% during 2017, suggesting massive growth in the sector. Japan remains the highest ownership by percentage, with 11% of their populace owning Bitcoin.
Cryptocurrency Versus Traditional Investments
Cryptocurrency may be gaining market share, but the industry still pales in comparison with traditional stocks. Despite a sharp drop in ownership recently, 54% of all Americans still own some form of stock. This is partially a factor of the ubiquitous nature of stocks in retirement and investment funds – but also the maturity of the field itself. Digital currencies are still a volatile new type of investment, with little data record to analyze. As financial institutions grow more familiar, we may see the field open considerably.
However, Bitcoin ownership alone vastly outstrips the individual bond market. Household ownership of government bonds in the United States fell to just 1.3% in 2017. As cryptocurrency ownership skews towards the younger side of the population, the trend towards digital currency investment will likely continue unabated.
A Steep, Harsh Learning Curve
Preventing the rapid onset adoption with older generations is the difficulty of entry. Great strides have been made by user-friendly exchanges like Coinbase and Gemini, but the knowledge necessary to enter the market remains high. While buying Bitcoin is now comparatively simple, anything more obscure requires a fiat gateway and a transfer to a cryptocurrency exchange.
The stock market thrives off of middle men – people that will guide investors through the process of purchasing stocks. Cryptocurrency’s public relations issues partially prevent this. The industry must gain a level of trust that would allow brokers and advisors to operate. This type of environment will likely require levels of protection through government regulation – preventing the type of ICO and exit scams we saw in the late 2017 cryptocurrency boom.
Article By: Adam Stone