Cryptocurrencies continue to be a trend in financial discourse, either due to discussions about their regulation and, often, prohibition in some countries, or, more often than not, due to the vicissitudes of their very volatile appreciation in the market. No one can dispute that, at least for the past five years, Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general have achieved a significant level of recognition among the population. However, this recognition has been accompanied by a positive reputation associated with the spikes in the price of Bitcoin against the US dollar; but, when the price goes down, naturally its reputation and valuation also go down.
2021 In September, in ÚN Data we did a survey that showed that cryptocurrencies were used by 28% of the population. Of course, as we have made clear in this space on other occasions, these results reflect the behavior of our audience, and are not intended to describe the country's population. This is not a scientific study, which would be good if it were carried out, it is a digital survey. However, it can at least serve as a pulse of reality. In this sense, given the current world political and economic context, very different from September of last year, we thought it would be interesting to poll the audience again about their relationship with cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin hovers around US$20.000, which marks a drop of more than 70% from its all-time high of US$69.000 in November 2021, arguably its moment of greatest popular excitement. This occurs in an environment marked by an economic crisis that reaches both underdeveloped countries and geopolitical centers. Inflation is a phenomenon that hits not only Venezuela, but is felt, bridging the gaps between the figures, quite strongly in the United States and Europe. There is also the war in Russia and Ukraine, accompanied by the aggressive Western economic blockade of Russia, which have contributed significantly to the destabilization of economies on a global scale.
We are, then, in a moment of “slump” in “crypto-enthusiasm”, which is why critical discourses regarding Bitcoin and its technology gain more echo. Jorge Stolfi, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Campinas (Brazil), claims that cryptocurrencies are dysfunctional payment systems, that they are a pyramid scheme and that blockchain is a technological fraud. "Technologically it's garbage," she says. That is why he signed, along with 1.499 other computer scientists, a letter addressed to the United States Congress urging “to adopt a critical and skeptical approach with the industry's claim that crypto assets are an innovative technology that is indisputably good. ”.
In this context, we carried out a digital survey on ultimasnoticias.com.ve and our social networks to ask our audience if they currently use cryptocurrencies, what they use them for, if they think their technology is useful, if they trust them as an economic instrument and if they believes that the crypto market will recover in the future. Between Monday, July 11 and Thursday, July 14, 387 people participated and the results are as follows.
The first result shows a clear decline from our survey last year. This time 18,1% of our audience claims to be a cryptocurrency user, while 81,9% said they are not.
In September 2021, crypto users reached 28,7%. This means that in the last 10 months there has been a decrease of more than 10% in the recognition of the use of crypto assets.
We then asked, only the participants who do use cryptocurrency, what they use it for. 47,15% responded that they use them to “protect the value of money and save”. The second group in importance is the one that says that it uses them to “invest and earn money”. The remaining 17,14% claim to use them to pay for goods and services.
It is known that all currency must fulfill three functions: unit of account, payment mechanism and reserve of value. According to our survey, the largest group of participants considers cryptocurrencies as a store of value, followed by their appreciation as an investment and profit-generating instrument, and only in third place is their use as a form of payment. when comparing this with last year's survey, we also observe a difference of around 10 points lower in terms of its use both as a store of value and as an exchange mechanism.
Despite the "drop" in the use that we could perceive, it is very interesting that when asking about the base technology of cryptocurrencies, the assessment is decidedly positive, both among those who use them and among those who do not use them. This means that blockchain technology, the most popular among forms of digital distributed ledger, has built a very good reputation in recent years. Nearly 75% of those surveyed responded that the technology behind cryptocurrencies is useful. In the case of the group of crypto users, this consideration rises to 100%, which is completely logical. But of those who said they were “non-users” of cryptocurrencies, nearly 70% find their technology useful, even if they don't actually use it.
We also measure people's trust in cryptocurrencies. We obtained that 27,13% of the total number of participants affirm that they are "totally reliable" and 23,77% say that they are "quite reliable". This adds up to 50,9% confidence, compared to 22,48% who "are not sure" and have doubts about it, 10,85% who consider them "unreliable" and 15,76% who say they are "nothing reliable”.
But here we have differentiated results for those who are crypto users and those who are not. Among crypto users, trust grows to 85,72%, among those who responded that cryptocurrencies are "totally reliable" (44,29%) and those who said they are "quite reliable" (41,43%). For their part, the “non-users” were distributed as follows, according to their level of trust: “totally trustworthy”, 23,34%); “quite reliable”, 19,87%; “it is not clear”, 24,61%; “unreliable”, 12,93%; and “not trustworthy”, 19,24%.
A similar picture was produced by our last question, which required the audience to make a forecast about the future of the cryptocurrency market, taking into account its current disadvantageous scenario in the midst of the crisis.
Half of the participants (50,9%) estimate that cryptocurrencies will “recover” from their current bear market. 38,76% “are not sure” and only 10,34% think that “they will not recover”.
When we discriminate the opinions according to users and non-users of cryptocurrencies, we obtain that on the side of the "cryptousers" the confidence in the recovery of the cryptoassets amounts to 78,57%., 20% are not sure and only 1,4% says the markets will not recover. In the case of those who do not use crypto, things are more distributed: 44,8% say they will recover, 42,9% are not sure and only 12,3% think that everything is lost. We observe that, even among the “non-users”, there is a good proportion of hope.
This is the panorama that we have among our audience. The world of cryptocurrencies is perhaps in better health in terms of image and ideological support than in financial reality. In any case, there is still a long way to go to see if what many today still consider a great economic solution is transformed or, as Jorge Stolfi predicts, ends up collapsing.