Buying into bitcoin: here’s who does it

28 June 2018 ... min read Listen

28 June 2018

If you’re a digitally savvy 35-year-old professional Turkish man it’s far more likely you’ll own or use a digital currency like bitcoin than if you were a Belgian woman of 65, for example. This is according to ING research that found people are divided on the use and future impact of cryptocurrencies. Just nine percent of Europeans own bitcoin or similar and only 16% expect to buy any in the future.

Europeans divided on the use of cryptocurrencies

Those that do buy into the trend are more likely to be younger (aged 25-44), male and from a country with a lower per-capital income such as Turkey or Romania.

The ING international survey into mobile banking and cryptocurrency (PDF 2.7 MB) questioned 15,000 people in 15 countries in Europe, the US and Australia.

Unsurprisingly, awareness of cryptocurrencies was highest among those who already use mobile banking. In addition, it varied from country to country, with 79% of Austrians having heard of bitcoin, but only 38% of Belgians. Men were also more familiar (77%) with it than women (55%). However, there was little difference between age groups, ranging from 60% of people over 65 saying they were familiar with it to 69% of those aged 25-44.

Buy, sell, invest

Despite the media hype around bitcoin, the survey found most people see cryptocurrencies as too risky to invest in. One in three Europeans said they would never do so, with 46% rating them as riskier than the share market. There is also a perception that they are difficult to understand and require expert financial advice.

Despite the growing popularity of cash-free transactions, only a minority would consider using a digital currency to pay for their coffee (23%), electricity bill (21%) or save for their children’s university fees (20%). Even fewer would want their salary to be paid in bitcoins.

However, one in three would consider using bitcoins to pay for items purchased online from another country.

Infographic: Are Europeans betting on Bitcoin?

The ING International Survey is conducted several times a year to gain a better understanding of how people in Europe, the US and Australia spend, save, invest and feel about money. The full report (PDF 2.7 MB) on cryptocurrencies can be found at

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