While consumers have more choice than ever before in how they save, store and spend their money, cash remains king for the foreseeable future, according to a report published on Wednesday.
From Cash to Crypto: The Money Revolution, by ING Bank, reveals that attitudes towards cryptocurrencies have changed little in a year - since the Dutch bank carried out a similar survey. Most people maintain a limited understanding of what cryptocurrencies are and how they work.
If Cash No Longer Existed
The survey tested the attitudes towards cryptocurrencies of nearly 15,000 respondents across 15 countries, including the US and most of Western Europe and when it came down the question of whether cash remained the preferred unit of transaction only a fifth of those surveyed said they would prefer it if cash no longer existed.
ING behavioral scientist Jessica Exton, said:
Our demand for cash appears relatively stable, despite increased payment options. While some of this will be driven by what’s accepted and what we are used to, it also suggests cash retains an everyday value not met by alternatives.
Market researcher Ipsos, which carried out the survey on behalf of ING, found that those who would like to say goodbye to cash completely were more likely to be young men on higher incomes with a degree-level education.
Learning About Crypto
While respondents only displayed a limited knowledge of cryptocurrencies, those with the lowest understanding of the asset class generally had a more positive attitude towards them. Indeed of the 13% with the lowest knowledge, 43% had a high attitude. Conversely, of the 29% who displayed a high knowledge, only 32% had a high attitude towards crypto.
Across the countries surveyed, the Turkish appeared to have the strongest positive attitudes towards digital assets, with 62% saying they were upbeat about the future use of cryptocurrencies. In the US it was just 31%, while in the UK it was 24%.
Turkey's upbeat attitude towards crypto is likely to evolved from the country's economic crisis of 2018, which drove the lira currency to a record low against the dollar. An online poll by German researcher Statista last month revealed that one-in-five Turks said they used or owned cryptocurrencies.
The ING survey also found the Turks to be the most proactive in learning about crypto, with 55% saying their knowledge of the sector came from online research, rather than passive sources such as the news and social media. And when asked if banks should offer current accounts in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, nearly two-thirds of Turks said "yes", compared to just 27% across Europe and 27% in the US.
While the Facebook-led Libra Project has piqued the imagination of many people, few people felt that social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram could be trusted for financial transactions.
Overall, Turkey was the country that displayed the most positivity towards cryptoassets and their use in financial transactions. Austrians were most cautious, followed closely by those questioned in Luxembourg and Australia.
The report concluded that to be a viable part of everyday life, cryptocurrencies must prove themselves useful, trustworthy and relevant to the financial needs of consumers. It added:
People are wary of cryptocurrencies - a reflection, most probably, of their being new and relatively intricate. The workings of blockchain, the idea of mining for something intangible and storing it in a digital wallet is, after all, novel and unfamiliar for many.
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