The cryptocurrency market may have experienced a flat run over the course of 2018 thus far with Bitcoin prices failing to break through the $10,000 barrier since early March, but new research published by ING demonstrates that adoption rates are rising rapidly.

The ING International Survey on Mobile Banking: Cracking the code on cryptocurrency report, published in June 2018, surveyed 14,828 respondents across 15 different countries, assessing public sentiment regarding cryptocurrencies as a payment method, investing in cryptocurrencies, and their current participation in the cryptocurrency market.

The data captured by ING in the survey demonstrates a significant rise in cryptocurrency adoption — 66 percent of all respondents had heard of cryptocurrencies, with 35 percent agreeing that cryptocurrencies represent the future of online spending.

The cryptocurrency ownership rates demonstrated by the report, however, are arguably the most interesting result of the study — 9 percent of all respondents stated that they currently own cryptocurrencies, with 25 percent stating that they intend to purchase cryptocurrency in the future.

Crypto Capitalizes on Lack of Trust in Central Banks

ING’s cryptocurrency-oriented survey quizzed respondents on a variety of crypto topics, assessing cryptocurrency awareness and ownership. Data published in ING’s report reveals that the majority of people in 11 of 13 European countries are aware of cryptocurrencies, with Australia leading the way at 79 percent crypto awareness, followed by Poland at 77 percent.

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Interestingly, men are more likely to be aware of cryptocurrencies than women, but age is not a strong indicator of cryptocurrency awareness. ING’s survey reveals that while individuals aged between 25 and 44 are marginally more likely to have heard of cryptocurrency, over 60 percent of respondents over the age of 65 in Europe maintain an awareness of cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrency ownership, however, appears to be directly linked to a distrust of incumbent financial systems. Turkey and Romania boast the highest percentage of cryptocurrency owners, with 18 percent and 12 percent respectively.

ING correlates high rates of cryptocurrency adoption in Turkey and Romania with the inherent bias of the online survey attracting younger professional people with more exposure to media and technology, but recent economic troubles in both countries have contributed to an increased interest in cryptocurrencies.

The recent Turkish economic crisis saw the Lira tumble to its lowest value in 17 years, falling nearly 25 percent in the most substantial drop in value since the 2001 Turkish economic crisis.

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Similarly, inflation in Romania recently reached a multi-year high in March 2018. Romania faces high levels of underbanked and unbanked individuals, with over 42 percent of Romanian adults lacking access to basic banking service.

A lack of banking services and low levels of trust in traditional banking institutions has led to high levels of cryptocurrency adoption in both countries. Individuals in both Romania and Turkey hold the most positive perspective on the future of cryptocurrencies — almost 50 percent of survey respondents in both countries identity cryptocurrencies as the “future of investment” and anticipate a dramatic rise in cryptocurrency values over the next year.

Litecoin Creator Calls for Crypto to Replace Fiat

ING’s survey data is reflected by Litecoin founder Charlie Lee’s recent statements regarding the future of cryptocurrency adoption. In a recent interview with DataDash, Lee highlighted the importance of promoting and adopting cryptocurrencies as a payment method rather than a speculative investment vehicle.

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Cryptocurrencies, states Lee, hold the power to “revolutionize finance” and replace fiat, but the early stages of the cryptocurrency ecosystem have led to a paradigm in which market participation is “more about buying and selling and holding the coin more than using it.”

Using cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin and Bitcoin in countries where fiat is performing poorly, according to Lee — who specifically highlighted the ongoing Venezuelan currency crisis — is essential to accelerating adoption.

Cover Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

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Sam Town Author

Sam Town

Samuel is a freelance journalist, digital nomad, and crypto enthusiast based out of Bangkok, Thailand. As an avid observer of the rapidly evolving blockchain ecosystem he specializes in the FinTech sector, and when not writing explores the technological landscape of Southeast Asia.

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