Lack of knowledge about bitcoin is the biggest barrier to usage, finds new study by Block, Inc.

Quick Take

  • Cash App parent company Block, Inc. partnered with Wakefield Research to study bitcoin knowledge and perceptions, surveying 9,500 people in 14 countries. 
  • A lack of knowledge about bitcoin is the main reason people do not purchase it, the study found.
  • Cryptocurrency knowledge is the strongest indicator of whether respondents said they would purchase bitcoin in the next year. 

A lack of knowledge about bitcoin is the main reason people do not purchase it, a new international research study from Cash App parent company Block, Inc. shows.

Fifty-one percent of respondents in the survey, which took place in January and February and focuses on 14 countries, said the main reason they do not buy bitcoin is that they "don't know enough about it." Other major reasons include cybersecurity and theft risks (32%) and too much price volatility (30%). 

Of the respondents who had at least a fair amount of knowledge about cryptocurrencies, the main reasons for not buying bitcoin were price volatility (30%) and an “uncertain regulatory outlook” (29%). 

The survey was done before major market events like the recent drops in the bitcoin price and TerraUSD losing its peg. But Block Economist Felipe Chacon said he expects the main reason for people not being engaged with cryptocurrencies is still a lack of knowledge. However, answers among those familiar with the technology could have shifted.

“I think coming off the crest of a big price drop or any big price movement, really, I would guess that these price volatility concerns would probably be a little bit higher now,” Chacon told The Block. “But again, given that the biggest chunk of people just don’t know enough about it or haven't heard much about cryptocurrencies in general or bitcoin specifically, I would guess that a lot of people have been fairly insulated from recent price movements.”

The study also found that a person’s level of knowledge about cryptocurrencies — or at least how much they think they know about them — is the strongest indicator of whether someone is likely to buy bitcoin in the next year. Forty-one percent of respondents who said they had "fair to expert" levels of crypto knowledge also said they were likely to buy bitcoin in the next year, compared with 7.9% of people who do not know about it or have very limited knowledge.

Of the countries surveyed, four stood out as being the most optimistic about bitcoin's future: Nigeria, India, Vietnam and Argentina. These countries also had the highest levels of crypto knowledge reported among survey participants.


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The study also looked at other areas, including perceptions of bitcoin based on income level, optimism about bitcoin by country and the gender divide in the crypto industry. For example, while respondents with higher incomes cited investment-related reasons driving their bitcoin purchases, lower-income respondents more often mentioned reasons like using the cryptocurrency as a payment method and sending remittances.

The research also found that women respondents in Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) and Asia-Pacific regions claimed "to have expert levels of knowledge at higher rates than men" regarding crypto.

Block partnered with Wakefield Research on the study to survey 9,500 people in the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific regions. It focused on 14 countries for the survey, including Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Nigeria, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States and South Africa. 

Block, formerly known as Square, chose these countries for factors such as being big population centers or economic powerhouses in the region, Chacon told The Block, as well as current events.

Block, Inc. reported earlier this month that it recorded $1.73 billion in bitcoin sales through its Cash App in the first quarter. 

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

Kristin Majcher is a senior correspondent at The Block, based in Colombia. She covers the Latin America market. Before joining, she worked as a freelancer with bylines in Fortune, Condé Nast Traveler and MIT Technology Review among other publications.