While very few people own Bitcoin, a far larger percentage of individuals—roughly one quarter—feel "intrigued" by the digital currency, according to a 2018 Wells Fargo survey. As a result, the digital currency may hold significant growth potential.
When Bitcoin first came into existence in January 2009, very few people knew about it. In fact, it failed to gain exposure outside of small groups of programmers interested in cryptography.
Over the years, this of course changed. In 2013, Bitcoin drew significant interest from investors, rising to more than US$1,000 per coin. While these prices didn't last long, Bitcoin did begin enjoying notable gains again in 2017, climbing to nearly US$20,000 in December of that year.
These sharp gains coincided with a substantial increase in search interest, which hit an all-time high during the week of 17 December to 23 December, according to Google Trends data. This search interest dropped sharply over the following months, registering a value of less than 10 repeatedly during the Summer of 2018. Bitcoin prices fell from their all-time high, too, declining to less than US$6,000 in June of that year.
Going forward, where Bitcoin prices will go is anyone's guess.
Many market analysts have made predictions on the subject, including venture capitalist Tim Draper whose forecast in April 2018 said that the digital currency would reach US$250,000 in 2022.
If the 26% of people who claimed they were "intrigued" by Bitcoin in a 2018 Gallup poll, titled "Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index survey," end up buying the digital currency, its price could skyrocket. In the poll, 2% of respondents indicated they owned Bitcoin. If the roughly one-quarter of participants who noted interest in the digital currency actually buy, it would increase the number of owners by more than tenfold.
One key consideration uncovered by the survey is a widespread lack of awareness regarding digital currencies. Fewer than 3 in 10 investors have some knowledge of these digital assets, according to the Gallup poll. More than two-thirds of these individuals (or 67%) have heard of digital currencies, but the study indicates that they don't know much about them.
Other industry surveys have produced similar results. For example, a Coin Center study revealed that roughly 65% of respondents were not familiar with Bitcoin. Further, of those who did have knowledge of the digital asset, more than 80% said they had not used it.
In addition to lacking awareness, Bitcoin suffers from the perception that it is a highly risky investment, as 75% of survey participants describing the digital currency as "very risky." Of the remaining 25% of respondents, 23% said that Bitcoin was "somewhat risky."
Only a slim fraction of people own Bitcoin, according to a Gallup poll, but more than 10 times as many individuals are "intrigued" by the cryptocurrency. If these potential investors opted to buy the digital asset, it could experience significant upside.
The digital currency, which has been around for more than nine years at the time of this writing, has gained visibility over time. Originally, only a handful of individuals in a specific field knew about it, but this situation has changed over time.
In spite of this progress, the majority of people don't know much about digital currencies, according to multiple surveys. Should this change over time, it could cause Bitcoin prices to rise significantly.
Senior Market Specialist
Russell Shor (MSTA, CFTe, MFTA) is a Senior Market Specialist at FXCM. He joined the firm in October 2017 and has an Honours Degree in Economics from the University of South Africa and holds the coveted Certified Financial Technician and Master of Financial Technical Analysis qualifications from the International Federation…