Study Says Many People Would Buy Stuff With Cryptocurrency If They Understood It

Bitcoin question marks
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

PYMNTS and BitPay revealed in a study that many U.S. consumers would be happy to pay for things with cryptocurrency, especially if doing so would make transactions more private, but they can't quite figure out how to acquire crypto coins in the first place. It's worth noting that BitPay is devoted to cryptocurrency payments, but PYMNTS is supposed to offer impartial analysis. Perhaps the confused respondents should consult our guide on how to mine Ethereum, after purchasing one of the best mining GPUs? See, we can be just as 'impartial,' but we digress.

The companies said in their "Cryptocurrency Payments Playbook: Cryptocurrencies Gain Momentum as a Payment Option" that 75% of their survey respondents said they didn't own cryptocurrency due to a "lack of knowledge." There were other reasons as well, such as the lack of mainstream acceptance (33.3%) and the crypto market's volatility (25.2%), but this inability to even get started was by far the biggest obstacle.

The study also showed that many cryptocurrency owners hold onto their coins because they view them as an investment rather than a way to purchase goods. That approach makes sense given the limited support for crypto payments, especially among the most popular merchants, and the potential upside of selling a crypto coin when its value peaks instead of using it as a replacement for traditional currencies.

But cryptocurrency owners would be willing to change the way they manage their coins if some conditions were met, according to the study, and even some of the respondents who don't currently own any crypto coins would be intrigued as well. The most popular condition: enjoying the same benefits as card-based payments by receiving discounts from certain retailers or rewards from loyalty programs.

PYMNTS and BitPay said that 58.7% of cryptocurrency owners would start using their coins to make purchases under those conditions while 22.8% of non-owners would make the switch in exchange for discounts and 21.7% would do so for loyalty programs. Others were looking to spend their crypto coins in a bid to make transactions more convenient, secure, and private, according to the study.

PYMNTS and BitPay crypto payments study

(Image credit: PYMNTS and BitPay)

The findings suggest that many consumers are ready to make purchases with cryptocurrency. Merchants starting to accept crypto coins as payment for everyday items—as opposed to electric vehicles and luxury items—would probably help the average consumer figure out how to get started with cryptocurrency as well. Otherwise cryptocurrency seems poised to remain an investment tool instead.

PYMNTS and BitPay said their findings were based on responses from "1,376 current cryptocurrency holders, 443 former cryptocurrency holders and 6,189 cryptocurrency nonholders" (with "3,072 of them" considered in the analysis) in the U.S. that were collected from February 8–23.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.

  • Jim90
    Oh I beg to differ!!...
    I'm fairly sure the unregulated, extremely volatile, unsecured nature of cryptocurrency will keep putting the informed mass population off for as long as that status know..."I promise to pay the bearer" and all that.
    Seems eminently sensible...doesn't it?
  • Co BIY
    The valuation of a single "bit coin" at near $38,000 would make everyday purchases awkward.

    A four pack of AA Batteries costs only - 0.00010451680 in Bitcoins - Am I getting a good deal?

    When I started to work on this example I just expected a small number with a lot of places after the decimal. When the calculator went into scientific notation I was surprised.

    A few "coin splits" are needed to fix this problem.
  • zodiacfml
    Fair research. My gripe with crypto is its focus on so many other things but not on user friendliness or ease to get one. There is slow improvement thouogh like more available stable coins as more people are saving/storing their wealth in crypto as interest earning. Transaction fees and speeds are also improving on some coins. Long way to go