Simon Grant discusses finance regulation in Canada in the age of blockchain and fintech.
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A lengthy survey into the awareness and usage of Bitcoin and crypto assets by Canada’s central bank has revealed impressive growth despite the recent bear market. The research also offers good insights as to what Canadian’s think of the crypto industry and what the future may hold for a cashless society. The Bank of Canada Bitcoin Omnibus Survey (BTCOS) has been carried out over the past few years to ascertain trends in Canadians’ awareness, ownership and use of Bitcoin and other crypto assets. The in-depth research, which has recently been published, has followed the rise and fall of crypto markets and trends associated with it. The central bank’s motives for carrying out the survey were to understand how its usage by Canadians could affect the financial system. The findings also help the bank, which has maintained its rates recently, with decisions on moving towards a cashless society and whether Canadians are ready for it yet. The results found that between 2016 and 2018 the share of Canadians who were aware of Bitcoin increased from 62% to 89%. This is unsurprising since it was all over mainstream media during the surge in prices up to all-time high. The crypto market pump also increased the number of Canadians buying Bitcoin as this rose from 3% to 5% during the period as speculation drove prices higher. The demographics were also unsurprising as those owning Bitcoin were largely university educated males aged 18 to 34. All demographics however showed an increase in awareness over the period as crypto assets made the headlines. Despite the massive bear market the survey revealed that Bitcoin ownership continued to increase in 2018. It added that 5 percent of Canadians owned Bitcoin in 2018, an increase from 4 percent in 2017 and 3 percent in 2016. This indicates that Canadians, like their counterparts across the globe were accumulating during the crypto winter of 2018. Interestingly BTC ownership tripled among those aged 55 and older from 0.5 to 1.7 percent during the same period. Disposable income also played a big part as ownership fell from 4.3 to 2.8 percent among those with household incomes below $30,000 while it increased from 4.3 to 7.0 percent among those with incomes above $70,000. This created an ownership gap that did not exist in previous years. The report stated that its findings were similar to those in the US. In 2018 the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Survey of Consumer Expectations found that 85 percent of respondents had heard of crypto assets, while 5 percent owned them. In the UK however Bitcoin ownership was only 3% that year. The research also noted that in 2017 the primary reason for owning Bitcoin was speculation while the following year BTC owners reported using it more often for buying goods and services or making person-to-person transfers. So, in conclusion, crypto awareness and ownership in Canada has increase despite a massive market collapse in 2018. This bodes well for the future as those figures are likely to grow even more as a new bull phase begins.
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Central Bank Survey Canadian Crypto Awareness and Ownership Increasing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ABedkmXXnY
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