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Jonathan Camhi
Jonathan Camhi
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Most U.S. Consumers Uncomfortable with Using Alternative Currencies

A new survey shows that U.S. consumers are mostly unaware of Bitcoin and the concept of alternative currencies, and also would never use them.

Even though financial services professionals are increasingly paying attention to Bitcoin, most U.S. consumers are not, according to research released yesterday by The Street. The overwhelming majority (76%) of the consumers surveyed in the study said they were not familiar with Bitcoin. And 79% said that would never consider using Bitcoin, the survey, conducted by GFK North America, a market research firm, found.

[Check Out More of Our Bitcoin Coverage: Bitcoin: Friend of Foe to Banks?]

Younger consumers were no more likely to be aware of Bitcoin than the older respondents, the survey found. But they were more likely to be willing to use crypto-currencies; 32% of the respondents between 18-24 years old said they would consider using an alternative currency like Bitcoin. Only 11% of the respondents over 65-years-old said they would be willing to use an alternative currency. Additionally, 57% of the respondents in the 18-24 age range believe that Bitcoin helps the global economy, the survey found.

Jonathan Camhi has been an associate editor with Bank Systems & Technology since 2012. He previously worked as a freelance journalist in New York City covering politics, health and immigration, and has a master's degree from the City University of New York's Graduate School ... View Full Bio

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Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Author
2/12/2014 | 6:04:10 PM
re: Most U.S. Consumers Uncomfortable with Using Alternative Currencies
It's true that all new tech has some kind of adoption curve - while reading this, I actually thought about online shopping and how most people were likely hesitant to adopt it. It may take longer for people to get used to virtual currencies, simply because they're so comfortable with cash and cards, but I don't think they're going anywhere. Eventually, people will start to use alternative currencies - or at least get used to them.
IvySchmerken
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IvySchmerken,
User Rank: Author
2/12/2014 | 2:37:36 AM
re: Most U.S. Consumers Uncomfortable with Using Alternative Currencies
If you see regulators get involved with bitcoin I think consumers would have more confidence in using the digital currency over time. Also, we may see an institutional market develop for trading bitcoin.
Byurcan
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Byurcan,
User Rank: Author
2/10/2014 | 9:50:47 PM
re: Most U.S. Consumers Uncomfortable with Using Alternative Currencies
But circa 2009-10 there were tons of surveys saying most people wouldn't use mobile banking, and a mere 2-3 years after that a majority of people do. Circa 1997 or so most experts thought people wouldn't ever shop online due to security risks. I think people quickly adopt new technology, despite reports saying they won't.
Jonathan_Camhi
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Jonathan_Camhi,
User Rank: Author
2/10/2014 | 9:47:54 PM
re: Most U.S. Consumers Uncomfortable with Using Alternative Currencies
I doubt that especially in the U.S. Americans have a much higher affinity for cold hard cash then most other countries. Plus we're consistently behind other developed countries in payments and financial services innovation as is.
Jonathan_Camhi
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Jonathan_Camhi,
User Rank: Author
2/10/2014 | 9:46:33 PM
re: Most U.S. Consumers Uncomfortable with Using Alternative Currencies
Travelers checks? Marco Polo used those, right?
Byurcan
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Byurcan,
User Rank: Author
2/7/2014 | 10:26:08 PM
re: Most U.S. Consumers Uncomfortable with Using Alternative Currencies
I bet if this survey is taken again 3 years in the future, a majority of consumers would report being comfortable with virtual currencies.
Nathan Golia
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Nathan Golia,
User Rank: Author
2/7/2014 | 9:51:29 PM
re: Most U.S. Consumers Uncomfortable with Using Alternative Currencies
I'm not surprised by this. There's clearly going to be an adoption curve for things like bitcoin Gă÷ especially since its value relative to the dollar is settling in at a very high cost to entry.
KBurger
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KBurger,
User Rank: Author
2/7/2014 | 6:29:47 PM
re: Most U.S. Consumers Uncomfortable with Using Alternative Currencies
There's a potential irony here. We know that consumers are more interested in emerging offerings such as mobile wallets or P2P payments when there's an affiliation with a bank -- there's more credibility and trust. So it's conceivable that if banks do carve out a spot in the virtual currency space it's possible that it will make Bitcoin et al more interesting/valid for customers. Maybe it will be a throwback to when banks sold travelers checks (Jon do you even know what those are?).
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