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Bitcoin awareness and usage in Canada


  • Gradon Nicholls

    (Bank of Canada)


There has been a tremendous discussion of Bitcoin, digital currencies, and fintech. However, there is limited empirical evidence of its adoption and usage. We propose a methodology to collect a nationally representative sample via 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 4 percent own it. We find that awareness of Bitcoin was strongly associated with men and those with college or university education; additionally, Bitcoin awareness was also more concentrated among unemployed individuals. On the other hand, Bitcoin ownership was associated with younger age groups and a high school education. Furthermore, we construct a test of Bitcoin characteristics to gauge the level of perceived versus actual knowledge held by respondents. We find that knowledge is positively correlated with Bitcoin adoption. Based on the survey response and data, we offer suggestions to improve future digital currency surveys, in particular, to achieve precise estimates from the hard-to-reach population of digital currency users using social network analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Gradon Nicholls, 2017. "Bitcoin awareness and usage in Canada," Canadian Stata Users' Group Meetings 2017 08, Stata Users Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:boc:csug17:08

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Schonlau, Matthias & Liebau, Elisabeth, 2012. "Respondent-driven sampling," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 12(1), pages 1-24.
    2. Ben Fung & Kim Huynh & Gerald Stuber, 2015. "The Use of Cash in Canada," Bank of Canada Review, Bank of Canada, vol. 2015(Spring), pages 45-56.
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    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Ben Fung & Kim Huynh & Leonard Sabetti, 2012. "The Impact of Retail Payment Innovations on Cash Usage," Staff Working Papers 12-14, Bank of Canada.
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    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. Christopher Henry & Kim Huynh & Rallye Shen, 2015. "2013 Methods-of-Payment Survey Results," Discussion Papers 15-4, Bank of Canada.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Walter Engert & Ben Fung & Scott Hendry, 2018. "Is a Cashless Society Problematic?," Discussion Papers 18-12, Bank of Canada.
    3. Walter Engert & Ben Fung, 2017. "Central Bank Digital Currency: Motivations and Implications," Discussion Papers 17-16, Bank of Canada.
    4. Christopher Henry & Kim Huynh & Gradon Nicholls, 2018. "Bitcoin Awareness and Usage in Canada: An Update," Staff Analytical Notes 2018-23, Bank of Canada.
    5. Helmut Stix, 2019. "Ownership and purchase intention of crypto-assets – survey results," Working Papers 226, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
    6. 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.
    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

    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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