A group of users say that they trust other digital payment methods more than cryptocurrencies. In underdeveloped countries, there is greater interest in cryptocurrencies, but people do not usually use them.

A survey that the newspaper The Economist conducted shows data on the increase in the use of digital payment methods in the past year, including cryptocurrencies, which do not seem to be generating much trust among users.

According to the study, digital currencies issued by government institutions appear to be gaining popularity as a digital means of payment. In this regard, the researchers state that this type of digital currency is “the next great development.”

They say that blockchain-based cryptocurrencies without any commercial or government endorsement are probably the best-known decentralized systems. However, they explain that there are new players in the game since financial and technological organizations are developing a new variety of cryptocurrencies based on similar technology. Governments consider that they can issue their digital currencies to transmit confidence to users while offering them the advantages of systems similar to cryptocurrencies.

Half of the people that The Economist interviewed reside in countries with developed economies, like the UK, Singapore, France, the USA, and Australia. The other half resides in countries with developing or emerging markets, among which are Brazil, Turkey, Vietnam, South Africa, and the Philippines. The sample consisted of 3,048 people, 61% of whom were between 18 and 38 years old, these being the generations that have best adopted modern digital technologies, according to the study.

About 64% of those surveyed stated that in the past year they have used digital payment methods such as PayPal, WeChat Pay, TransferWise, among others, to make more than half of their purchases. Meanwhile, 80% of the respondents were willing to use these payment methods more frequently and 28% stated that they would probably make digital payments in most of their transactions, instead of using physical money.

Cryptocurrencies in Emerging Countries

Of the total sample, only 4% claimed that they would not make digital payments, a figure that fell to 1% in the case of emerging economies. However, the researchers consider that these economies are more receptive to digital payment methods since 41% of respondents in emerging countries said that they used or owned cryptocurrencies, while only 19% in developed countries did.

Of those interviewed in developed economies, 79% claim to know or be aware of cryptocurrencies, whilst this figure increases to 92% in emerging economies, giving a total average of 85%.

The study collected comments from Antony Lewis, author of The Basics of Bitcoins and Blockchains: An Introduction to Cryptocurrencies and the Technology that Powers Them. He says that some groups prefer to use digital currencies rather than physical money, but it is necessary to have certain skills and competencies to handle digital currencies, a level of experimentation that not everyone has.

In the researchers’ opinion, the survey seems to confirm these ideas, since those respondents with university training stated that they have already used cryptocurrencies, a reduced trend among those not having a high school diploma or equivalent training.

Finally, 10% of the respondents consider that people in their countries use digital payments over other physical methods. The researchers also consider that there is a lot of space to cover regarding digital payments, considering the increasing access to mobile devices and other technological innovations.

By Alexander Salazar


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