The Quebec region would thus arrive second to last in the ranking of bitcoin holders. (Photo: 123RF)
LES KEYS DE LA CRYPTO is a section that patiently decodes the world of cryptocurrency and its stock market, industrial and media turmoil. François Remy’s mission is to identify promising entrepreneurs, decode technical progress and anticipate the industrial and societal impacts of this digital currency.
(Illustration: Camille Charbonneau)
From a geographical point of view, residents of Quebec are the least likely to have heard of the queen of cryptocurrencies, assures the Bank of Canada.
The perception, adoption and use of crypto currencies has been a concern of our central bank for years. At least since 2016 in any case, when the first annual survey on this subject dates back. It is never freshly collected data and the lessons often appear disconnected from the realities of the market.
Either way, the Bank of Canada has just released its new Gender Study which incorporates information from the 2019 bitcoin omnibus survey as well as that from the 2020 Means of Payment Survey.
The Monetary Institution authors find that the overall level of knowledge and level of bitcoin holdings among Canadians remains stable. “Nearly 90% of the population knows bitcoin, while only 5% own it,” they note.
Few minors, fear of risks
The picture painted by our central bank clashes with current major trends. A contrast paradoxically supported by other banking brands, those of business or investment. Let us think of the American Morgan Stanley which predicts a massive adoption of cryptocurrencies, with a use exceeding that of our national currencies.
The Canadian survey highlights the fact that about half of bitcoin owners in the country said they usually obtain their BTC through mobile or web exchanges, while only a fifth of them mine bitcoin. .
From a risk profile perspective, bitcoiners in Canada would have plenty to worry about, “as evidenced by the fact that nearly half of current and past holders said they were affected by events such as the collapse. courses, loss of access to funds, scams or data breaches,” the document states.
And if the central bank’s rapporteurs try to objectify their approach by indicating the most frequently cited reasons in favor of bitcoin (use for investment purposes or technological interest), they link these uses to… poor financial literacy.
Bad financial culture?
“The interplay between financial education and participation in the crypto-asset market is an important area to explore. While bitcoin owners know bitcoin technology better than non-owners, they also score lower on financial literacy tests, despite having a higher level of education,” the authors point out. In other words, there are many risks associated with the sector that could be avoided with additional training.
Surprisingly, the Bank of Canada financial literacy test is based on three multiple-choice questions focusing on interest rates, inflation, and understanding stocks/mutual funds. Where bitcoin knowledge focused on supply, digital ledger, and network governance.
Given the limited number of questions, the idea that the central bank can fine-tune the financial education of respondents seems questionable. Even if, between us, the questions are not insurmountable.
Yet another notable, even questionable piece of information from the bitcoin survey, geographic distribution. “Residents of Quebec were the least likely to have heard of Bitcoin,” the document asserts. With an awareness rate of 75%, the Quebec region has the lowest proportion, compared to 93% in the Prairies region or 91% in Ontario and British Columbia.
An even more surprising trend, while in 2016, the most popular cryptocurrency was found mainly in Quebec portfolios (5.5%), the proportion would have continued to decline from year to year. From now on, the Quebec region would thus arrive second to last in the ranking of bitcoin holders.
Note that the Bank of Canada’s surveys are based on somewhat dated and somewhat thin samples of the population (between 58 and 89 bitcoiners between 2016 and 2019 during the omnibus, or 181 BTC holders for the 2020 survey).
A more recent opinion poll from Capterra, the US provider of software customer reviews, revealed that out of 239 respondents residing in Quebec, 1 in 3 respondents currently use cryptocurrency. Mainly Bitcoin (80%) and Ethereum (50%).