‘Cash is still king;’ crypto will need to be proven 'useful,' says ING

Dutch banking group ING has said that “cash is still king,” and that for cryptocurrencies to catch on, it will need to be proven "useful, relevant and trustworthy."

“If cryptocurrencies are to become mainstream, technical improvements are needed,” said Teunis Brosens, lead economist for digital finance and regulation at ING, in an international survey report published Wednesday.

The report, titled “From cash to crypto: the money revolution,” revealed that the general public is roughly equal parts positive, negative and neutral about cryptocurrencies. While many have heard of cryptocurrencies, most do not know how they work.

“At the two extremes, most people (74%) understand that cryptocurrencies are a form of digital money but almost the same percentage (73%) either incorrectly think cryptocurrencies are controlled by a central body or say they don’t know whether this is the case,” said ING.

Yet, a handful of “true believers” exists. For instance, Turkey has the most positive attitude towards cryptocurrencies (62%). This is reportedly because “Turkey is seriously worried about its own currency.”

Elsewhere, the survey also shows that the majority remains uninterested in the idea of using social media for sending money to friends and family. "Some 66% of Europeans dismissed the idea completely versus only 17% who agreed they would do so," per the survey, which was notably conducted before Facebook-led Libra stablecoin was officially announced.

“Libra will be one of the first major tests in the field for social media companies. One key question pertains the regulatory environment and how this would evolve both from a domestic and a cross-border perspective,” said Brosens.