Bitcoin interest has surged in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the unprecedented measures undertaken by governments to contain it while propping up the global economy. The bitcoin price has bounced back to almost $10,000 per bitcoin after crashing to under $4,000 during the broad March coronavirus sell-off. Now, new research has revealed the extent public opinion has shifted toward bitcoin since 2017—with almost half of millennials “likely” to buy bitcoin within the next five years.
“With over 20 million Americans currently unemployed, the public narrative towards bitcoin has changed,” researchers at financial information platform The Tokenist wrote, summarizing their findings. “The results are striking. We found increased knowledge of, and growing confidence in, bitcoin among all age and gender groups surveyed. This effect was most pronounced in millennial respondents, 45% of whom would now preferentially invest in bitcoin over stocks, real estate and gold.”
As the coronavirus Covid-19 swept across the U.S., the unemployment rate soared to almost 15% in April, the highest level on record, with millenials among the hardest hit. In February, the unemployment rate was at a half-century low of 3.5%. The survey, which gauged how market fluctuations caused by Covid-19 has affected people’s view of bitcoin, revealed 47% of people trust bitcoin over big banks, an increase of 29 percentage points over the past three years.
Meanwhile, 43% of respondents, and 59% of millennials, thought that most people will be using bitcoin within the next decade and 44% of millennials report that they are likely to buy bitcoin in the next five years. “These data indicate that bitcoin has a bright future, and will likely benefit significantly from the current market crisis,” the researchers wrote. “With confidence in traditional investment instruments decreasing, bitcoin stands poised to offer investors an alternative, long-term store of value.”
The research chimes with reports from the bitcoin and cryptocurrency community that coronavirus and its ramifications has boosted interest in bitcoin. “The surging activity we’ve seen since the beginning of 2020 has been in part inspired by the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented monetary intervention,” Alex Leishman, the founder of River Financial, a San Francisco-based startup bitcoin brokerage and financial services firm that has seen its client base double every month this year, said last week.
Growing interest in bitcoin from “seasoned macro investors” like Paul Tudor Jones, Dan Tapiero and Raoul Pal is legitimizing bitcoin “within the mainstream finance community,” according to Leishman. “The evolution of finance is only happening faster in the wake of the current global economic crisis, which has illuminated holes within traditional financial systems that can potentially be filled by bitcoin,” said Olaf Carlson-Wee, founder of hedge fund Polychain Capital, who recently led a River funding round.
The Tokenist surveyed around 5,000 people through April 2020, comparing the findings to surveys carried out by brokerage eToro, investor Blockchain Capital, and personal finance website BankRate in 2017.
I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world. As the founding editor of Verdict.co.uk I reported