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Bitcoin Awareness and Usage in Canada

Author

Listed:
  • Christopher Henry
  • Kim Huynh
  • Gradon Nicholls

Abstract

There has been tremendous discussion of Bitcoin, digital currencies and FinTech. However, there is limited empirical evidence of Bitcoin’s adoption and usage. We propose a methodology to collect a nationally representative sample using the Bitcoin Omnibus Survey (BTCOS) to track the ubiquity and usage of Bitcoin in Canada. We find that about 64 percent of Canadians have heard of Bitcoin, but only 2.9 percent own it. We also find that awareness of Bitcoin is strongly associated with men and those with college or university education: additionally, Bitcoin awareness is more concentrated among unemployed individuals. On the other hand, Bitcoin ownership is associated with younger age groups and a high-school education. Furthermore, we construct a test of Bitcoin characteristics to gauge the level of knowledge held by respondents who were aware of Bitcoin, including actual owners. We find that knowledge is positively correlated with Bitcoin adoption. We attempt to reconcile the difference in awareness and ownership by decomposing the transactional and store-of-value motives for holding Bitcoin. Finally, we conclude with some suggestions to improve future surveys on digital currency, in particular, to achieve precise estimates from the hard-to-reach population of digital currency users.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Henry & Kim Huynh & Gradon Nicholls, 2017. "Bitcoin Awareness and Usage in Canada," Staff Working Papers 17-56, Bank of Canada.
  • Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:17-56
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Schonlau, Matthias & Liebau, Elisabeth, 2012. "Respondent-driven sampling," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 12(1), pages 1-24.
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    3. Wilko Bolt & Maarten van Oordt, 2016. "On the value of virtual currencies," DNB Working Papers 521, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    4. Heng Chen & Marie-Hélène Felt & Kim P. Huynh, 2017. "Retail payment innovations and cash usage: accounting for attrition by using refreshment samples," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 180(2), pages 503-530, February.
    5. Matthew Chen & Anton Badev, 2014. "Bitcoin: Technical Background and Data Analysis," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2014-104, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US), revised 07 Oct 2014.
    6. Neil Gandal & Hanna Halaburda, 2014. "Competition in the Cryptocurrency Market," Working Papers 14-17, NET Institute.
    7. Matthias Schonlau & Elisabeth Liebau, 2012. "Respondent-driven sampling," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 12(1), pages 72-93, March.
    8. Athey, Susan & Parashkevov, Ivo & Sarukkai, Vishnu & Xia, Jing, 2016. "Bitcoin Pricing, Adoption, and Usage: Theory and Evidence," Research Papers 3469, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    9. Carlos Arango & Angelika Welte, 2012. "The Bank of Canada’s 2009 Methods-of-Payment Survey: Methodology and Key Results," Discussion Papers 12-6, Bank of Canada.
    10. Ben Fung & Kim Huynh & Leonard Sabetti, 2012. "The Impact of Retail Payment Innovations on Cash Usage," Staff Working Papers 12-14, Bank of Canada.
    11. Ben Fung & Hanna Halaburda, 2014. "Understanding Platform-Based Digital Currencies," Bank of Canada Review, Bank of Canada, vol. 2014(Spring), pages 12-20.
    12. Geoffrey R. Dunbar & Chunling Fu, 2015. "Sheltered Income: Estimating Income Under-Reporting in Canada, 1998 and 2004," Staff Working Papers 15-22, Bank of Canada.
    13. Carlos Arango & Kim Huynh & Ben Fung & Gerald Stuber, 2012. "The Changing Landscape for Retail Payments in Canada and the Implications for the Demand for Cash," Bank of Canada Review, Bank of Canada, vol. 2012(Autumn), pages 31-40.
    14. Christopher Henry & Kim Huynh & Rallye Shen, 2015. "2013 Methods-of-Payment Survey Results," Discussion Papers 15-4, Bank of Canada.
    15. Lusardi, Annamaria & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2011. "Financial literacy around the world: an overview," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(4), pages 497-508, October.
    16. Anneke Kosse & Heng Chen & Marie-Hélène Felt & Valéry Dongmo Jiongo & Kerry Nield & Angelika Welte, 2017. "The Costs of Point-of-Sale Payments in Canada," Discussion Papers 17-4, Bank of Canada.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Walter Engert & Ben Fung & Scott Hendry, 2018. "Is a Cashless Society Problematic?," Discussion Papers 18-12, Bank of Canada.
    2. Helmut Stix, 2019. "Ownership and purchase intention of crypto-assets – survey results," Working Papers 226, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
    3. Doris Ritzberger-Grünwald & Helmut Stix, 2018. "How Austrians bank and pay in an increasingly digitalized world – results from an OeNB survey," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue Q3/18, pages 52-89.
    4. Raphael Warren Jankeeparsad & Dev Tewari, 2018. "End-User Adoption of Bitcoin in South Africa," Journal of Economics and Behavioral Studies, AMH International, vol. 10(5), pages 230-243.
    5. Christopher Henry & Kim Huynh & Gradon Nicholls, 2018. "Bitcoin Awareness and Usage in Canada: An Update," Staff Analytical Notes 2018-23, Bank of Canada.
    6. Walter Engert & Ben Fung, 2017. "Central Bank Digital Currency: Motivations and Implications," Discussion Papers 17-16, Bank of Canada.
    7. Anil Savio Kavuri & Alistair Milne, 2019. "FinTech and the future of financial services: What are the research gaps?," CAMA Working Papers 2019-18, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bank notes; Digital currencies; Econometric and statistical methods;

    JEL classification:

    • E4 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates
    • C12 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Hypothesis Testing: General

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