articleStartImage

Bitcoin (BTC) awareness and usage have increased significantly among Canadians over the course of a year, a newly-published survey by the country’s central bank has revealed.

The Bitcoin Omnibus Survey (BTCOS) of 2,500 people was conducted in December 2017, when the BTC price jumped to a record high of nearly $20,000. The Bank of Canada found that the number of people in Canada who held Bitcoin rose from 2.9% in late 2016, to 5% in late 2017 — representing a 72% year-on-year increase.

The survey also revealed a general uptick in awareness about the original crypto coin. Some 85% of people in Canada were aware of Bitcoin at the end of last year, up from 64% in late 2016. Furthermore, the results show a significant improvement in general understanding about Bitcoin with the proportion of Canadians believing Bitcoin is "government-backed" falling from 78% to 37%.

More Canadians see Bitcoin as an investment

The BTCOS also found that the main reason cited by survey participants for owning Bitcoin changed from transactional purposes in 2016 to investment purposes in 2017. Some 58% of people in Canada said they mainly hold Bitcoin in the hope the price will rise, up from 12% the year before. Fear of missing out (FOMO) also emerged as a crypto investment driver, with 12% of respondents stating that their primary reason for purchasing BTC was that “My friends own Bitcoin.”

However, it seems that Canadians’ Bitcoin holdings are generally small, as 32% of the respondents stated that they own less than 0.1 BTC and 34% holding less than 0.05 BTC.

“This is consistent with at least two (reinforcing) possibilities: new Bitcoin users observed in 2017 could predominantly have bought small amounts of Bitcoin; and existing users could have sold off much of their Bitcoin. Both of these possibilities could be driven by the skyrocketing prices of late 2017,” the Bank of Canada said.

Coinsquare welcomes the news

Canada’s largest crypto exchange Coinsquare, which earlier this week announced plans to establish a centralized digital currency exchange in Japan, cheered the BTCOS findings.

“Ownership of #Bitcoin nearly doubled in #Canada from 2016-2017. According to a #BankofCanada survey, in 2016 people bought for transactions. In 2017, they bought for investment,” Coinsquare tweeted on Wednesday.