How do we measure something that’s qualitative? Like the Bitcoin Public Sentiment, for example. The stats and data currently available on Bitcoin usage obtained from sites like Blockchain.info are largely — Quantitative data.
These metrics can be used to measure the scope & vibrancy of the Bitcoin Ecosystem, such as transaction volume or network size. These technological measures, while extremely useful for measuring Bitcoin itself, cannot answer qualitative (I like to say squishy) questions about Bitcoin’s public perception.
— An excerpt from the “Bitcoin Public Sentiment Survey,” by CoinCenter.org
About the Bitcoin Public Sentiment Survey
CoinCenter has used the Google Consumer Surveys platform for a timespan of 5 months for this survey’s baseline. Google Consumer Survey is a great platform; however, it takes into approximation Google’s definition of “General American Population.” I could be a skeptic about the sample size and the data. But given that Google knows the most about online users’ behaviour, I choose to agree with this data.
The results are more or less in line with what we expected: People still don’t really know about Bitcoin. Despite the wave of news coverage over the last couple of years, around 65% of respondents were not familiar at all with it. Of those respondents who are familiar with Bitcoin, consistently over 80% have never actually used it.
–An excerpt from the survey result.
Whose opinions are these anyway?
Before I proceed any further into the article, I would like to make it blatantly visible that this survey results are based on Google’s approximation of General American Population. NOT the entire global user base of Bitcoin or the world’s population in general.
Simple math could tell us to why we need to pay heed to details:
- Total world population: 7.3 billion people
- Total number of unique Bitcoin wallet addresses, from BlockChain.info: 250,000
- Divide 250,000/7.3 Billion = Forget the decimal numbers. It is still a very small fraction.
84% of survey respondents of the Bitcoin Public Sentiment survey, who are “not too familiar,” “very familiar” & “somewhat familiar” — Never used Bitcoins.
The “MEH” Conclusion
Looking at the large distribution of opinions in the mid-range of the images 3 & 4, I can see the following conclusions:
- The survey respondents don’t really care if Bitcoin is primarily used for crime, fraud or extortion. The middle band of 33.4% is a loud and clear signal that shouts — “I care about What’s In It For Me”
- 34.4% of respondents are ‘meh’ to the question on whether “Governments should ban Bitcoin or leave it alone?”
The same question, “Is Bitcoin used primarily for crime, fraud and extortion, or is it primarily used for legal transfers and investing?” can be rephrased this way — “Is the Dollar primarily used for crime, fraud and extortion, or is it primarily used for legal transfer and investing?”
I guess the answer would still be “Meh.” Because, if not bitcoins, what is the current industry standard currency for crime, fraud and extortion? Fiat currencies – obviously. Hence: “Meh.”
Images from: Coincenter Survey Page and Flickr.