Emerging trends: Bitcoin
In this article, Questia Group focuses on Bitcoin. Our research was conducted through an online survey on our platform http://questia.ro covering 942 respondents. The survey was active between 30 and 31 May 2017. Our key findings are presented below.
Bitcoin ‘s inventor, Satoshi Nakamoto, described Bitcoin as “A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” in the original 2009 Bitcoin whitepaper. Today, Bitcoin represents a novelty in almost every aspect:
- It is digital money.
- It is decentralized, it has no central authority.
- It is a peer-to-peer payment network, powered by users.
- It is pseudonymous.
- It is fast.
- It is a deflationary currency and is likely to grow in value based on this property alone.
The supply of Bitcoin is mathematically limited to twenty-one million bitcoins, and that can never be changed.
See more about Bitcoin here.
Bitcoin has an interesting and developing history, with many people involved in its creation and maintenance. In this way, crypto-anarchists are believers in digital technology and not the state or the banks. They are mostly computer hackers and their effort in maintaining the Bitcoin is limitless. They believe that digital technology and citizens who are able to use encryption themselves is the route to a stateless paradise since it undermines government’s ability to monitor, control and tax its people. Since no one controls the Bitcoin, no one can delete it. That is why it uses the blockchain, which is a technique to create a massive, distributed, tamper-proof database that anyone can add.
According to the Guardian, millions of pounds of investment are pouring into Bitcoin and blockchain from governments, banks, IT and financial services, all excitedly eyeing up a novel way to store information or prove asset ownership securely.
An article from Reuters suggests that a key reason for Bitcoin's dominance in the nefarious online underworld, say technologists and cyber crime experts, is its size - the total value of all bitcoins in circulation is more than twice that of the nearest of hundreds of rivals. Also, one Cambridge University study highlights that the current number of unique active users of cryptocurrency wallets is estimated to be between 2.9 million and 5.8 million.
Respondent awareness for Bitcoin is quite high: 63.5% have heard of Bitcoin, while only 36.5% have not.
The main sources of awareness come from the internet (34.5%), from TV (29.9%) and less from friends/relatives (12.7%) or the written press (8.1%). Since the recent cyber-attack WannaCry, Bitcoin has gained more awareness, since the hackers asked the victims for $300 worth of Bitcoin.
Most respondents consider that Bitcoin is an alternative to the actual banking system (50.8%), and they connect it to advanced technology (33.3%), flexibility and adaptability to global trends (30.6%), as well as a way to trade money peer-to-peer (27.9%). Only a few consider bitcoin to be a new way to get rich (20.6%) or a more free way of doing business (15.6%).
When asked if they would use Bitcoin, only a quarter said they would (29.3%), while the majority (61.8%) said they would not.
However, respondents say they would use Bitcoin if the price did not fluctuate as much (40.4%) if the payment system was easier to understand (38.4%) and if it was more accessible (for payments at the supermarket, at restaurants etc.) (32.2%).
Moreover, the majority of respondents (75.2%) agree that in the coming years, there will be more and more payment methods (like fingerprint scanning, facial recognition, etc.). Also, most of them would like to pay everything with their mobile phone (50.9%). Opinions were scattered regarding the fact that the world would be better if there was a single currency: 55.8% agreed, while 44.3% disagreed. Also, only a quarter (22.5%) agreed to the idea that until the end of the century, the banks will disappear completely.
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