According to a survey conducted by ING, 32% of Europeans think crypto is the future of money. In a random survey, most knew about cryptocurrencies.
What used to be considered futuristic money is starting to feel more real for consumers. That’s just one of the findings from the latest ING International Survey.
Consumer knowledge about digital currencies is limited and cash is still king. But many people still hold a positive view about the future of cryptocurrency and are curious about its possibilities.
The seventh ING International Survey on new technologies found that 82% of European respondents knew at least a little about cryptocurrency (identifying at least one out of five true or false statements correctly). Among this group, opinions are divided, as four in ten (41%) had high expectations for it, in contrast to one-in-four (23%) with low expectations.
A third of this group (32%) agree that crypto is the future of online spending and a quarter (27%) say they are open to receiving new cryptocurrency offerings from brands and bodies they are familiar with, agreeing that banks should offer current accounts in crypto.
The survey on consumer attitudes towards cryptocurrencies comes amid the impending launch of Facebook’s digital currency, Libra, and an announcement from the People’s Bank of China that it’s close to rolling out its own cryptocurrency. These two large-scale developments suggest digital currencies may be inching towards the mainstream. For now, cryptocurrencies remain a speculative and volatile investment option.
These findings are consistent with how people say they learn about cryptocurrencies. Many appear to build their knowledge of cryptocurrencies passively, that is through the news (33%) and social media (13%). There are clear differences in the approach across countries however, suggesting that for some, interest may be influenced by the local context.
Overall adoption will only occur if these currencies prove to be relevant to everyday financial lives, trustworthy and obviously useful. Indeed, it’s not how much we know about cryptocurrencies but how useful they are, that will drive adoption.
Some people are already quite positive about the future use of cryptocurrencies. This is seen in optimistic responses to questions such as – are cryptocurrencies the future of spending online? Would someone who bought cryptocurrency a year ago be happy now? And will the value of cryptocurrencies increase in the next 12 months?
As perhaps expected, these people make up a minority of the population in all but one of the 15 countries we surveyed. So, while it’s a small group, it does exist in all countries. And it shares similar characteristics. These people are generally open to and trusting of new technologies. For example, they are more likely to consider different recommendations with ease when managing their money.
Technologies that have been around longer, and are more familiar, are more likely to be rated as secure by consumers. A quarter (27%) also say they are open to having new financial products that utilise cryptocurrencies and that are offered by familiar financial service providers such as their main bank.
Trust of the familiar is a consistent finding within our surveys and suggests that combining the processes and providers that we are already accustomed to with new currency might be the most palatable for consumers, compared to a drastic shift. Some form of digital currency or cryptocurrency hybrid may therefore be what naturally develops next.
There are potential benefits of new forms of currency, which is why they are sparking the interest of regulators, the traditional financial sector, fintechs and consumers.