Bitcoin just hasn’t hit it off in the UK
The future where we all pay for products and services using Bitcoin may well be a pipe dream in the UK right now, as it seems that UK citizens just don’t trust the digital currency.
It’s strange too, as media focus has been strong around the product, with Stripe looking to accept it and Square also endorsing it’s prospects. However, the research shown by Venda shows that consumers just don’t trust this ethereal currency.
So far it seems that 71 per cent of consumers responded by saying that they wouldn’t like to be able to pay by Bitcoin, yet overall, global transactions of Bitcoin have increased 10 fold over the last year. It’s certainly a hard trend to ignore, yet still, 43 per cent cite not trusting the currency as a reason for not wanting to use it.
It seems that distrust also comes from lack of knowledge around what Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies work. Once again, 43 per cent cited not understanding them as a reason for not wanting to use it. Interestingly, this sentiment was felt particularly amongst women with 49 per cent saying they were unfamiliar with the idea and system – compared to 36 per cent of men.
Only a quarter of those who said they didn’t want to use the currency cited its unstable nature as a deterrent. The chief reason for this was because they feel that they could well end up paying more for goods than they would be if they’d been using an alternative currency.
Still, it doesn’t mean the end of its acceptance on UK shores as 8 per cent did say that they felt it should be an available payments option because it was a valid currency.
Six per cent said that Bitcoin’s anonymity was an appealing factor, allowing them to make purchases without having to reveal to companies who they are. Five per cent said they would happily use Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies if retailers offered discounts for using it, and five per cent also claimed that they’d use it as it would mean they wouldn’t need to carry cash any more.
“The prospect of new crypto-currencies, such as Bitcoin, adds a new meaning to ‘alternative’ ways for consumers to pay for their goods, whether online or in-store,” said Venda CEO Eric Abensur. “Much has been said about these new currencies over the last 12 months, but their growth in media speculation makes them a difficult trend to ignore. However, our research warns of a fundamental mistrust of Bitcoin and need for more education on how these virtual currencies actually work if they are to truly take off. A time may come where consumers can pay in-store using Bitcoin, but for now the fact that the price of a Bitcoin is in constant flux means that it’s simply not a viable way for businesses to take money for products. Even those that are currently taking payment by Bitcoin for products or services are, by and large, converting that to a standard currency for safe keeping and further use.”
Bitcoin aside, it’s interesting to hear that one in five of those surveyed said that they had abandoned an item while shopping online due to the lack of PayPal available as a method of payment.
Perhaps PayPal should expand further over in the UK before that Bitcoin itch gets even bigger.
[Imge: btckeychain - Flickr]