The number of Canadians who own bitcoin almost doubled in one year, according to the Bank of Canada, which recently released the Bitcoin Omnibus Survey.
Canada’s central bank conducted the research with the intention of identifying “the driving reasons for ownership during the sudden rise in Bitcoin prices” and to find out “bitcoin’s potential impact on how the Bank of Canada undertakes its core functions,” reported CoinDesk. The survey involved more than 2,500 Canadians.
The Bank of Canada determined that there has been additional interest in bitcoin’s price since 2016, when they conducted a similar survey. The analysis also shows that Canadian’s bitcoin ownership grew from 2.9 percent to 5 percent in 2017. In total, 85 percent of Canadians were aware of cryptocurrency in 2017 (versus 64 percent in 2016).
British Columbia residents were the most aware of the cryptocurrency (93 percent). The province with the largest jump in awareness of bitcoin was Quebec. Their awareness increased 20 percent during the year.
“Awareness among women rose to 80% in 2017, an increase of 26 percentage points,” the authors wrote. “Awareness also increased across all age groups, from 62% to 68% in 2016 to 83% to 89% in 2017. In general, demographic trends in awareness remained consistent across years. For example, males were noticeably more aware than females (91% vs. 80% in 2017; 75% vs. 54% in 2016).”
The number of those who falsely believe it is “government-backed” has fallen 40 percent. The analysis found that most owners of bitcoin use it for investment purposes and do not spend it. The survey found: “Only about half of Bitcoin owners were found to regularly use it to buy goods or services or to send money to other people.”
This may be a worrying trend because some experts believe for cryptocurrencies to be adopted by more people, they need to be used to buy goods and services, not kept for investments.
Still, not a lot of Canadians own much of the cryptocurrency. Thirty-two percent of survey respondents said they own less than 0.1 BTC, with 34 percent holding less than 0.05 BTC.
In December 2017, the price of bitcoin reached a staggering US$20,000. At press time, it was around US$6,100.