You might normally expect that the more familiar you become with a financial product and the more you understand it, the more positive you feel about it.
However, in the case of cryptocurrency, it seems that familiarity breeds contempt, according to new research from ING.
The Dutch bank surveyed more than 10,000 people across Europe, and found that it was those with a low or medium amount of knowledge of cryptocurrency who had the most positive attitude towards it, rather than those who knew the most.
A new survey of more than 10,000 people from Dutch bank ING found indifferent attitudes towards the prospect of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin replacing cash any time soon
Some 29 per cent of those who were defined as having ‘high knowledge’ had a negative attitude towards digital currencies like Bitcoin, compared to 20 per cent of those who had either ‘low’ or ‘medium’ levels of knowledge.
Meanwhile just 32 per cent of those who knew the most had a positive attitude about the future of the likes of Ethereum or Litecoin, compared to 45 per cent with a medium level of knowledge and 43 per cent with a low level of knowledge.
Those surveyed were sorted into the three groups according to their ability to answer five questions about cryptocurrencies.
However, even the answers to those questions suggested that widespread knowledge about crypto remains limited.
While 74 per cent of those surveyed by ING understood cryptocurrencies are ‘a type of digital curency’, almost the exact same number were unable to correctly say that cryptocurrencies were not controlled by any central body.
Jessica Exton, a behavioural scientist at ING, said while it was ‘not causal’ that increased knowledge about cryptocurrencies went hand-in-hand with a greater degree of scepticism about them, the results ‘raised a lot of questions’.
ING asked those surveyed 5 questions to gauge how much they knew about crypto
She added: ‘It will be interesting to see if this changes over time, but the results suggest lots of other relevant factors are at play. Knowledge isn’t the answer to the trust issue’.
Unlike the price of Bitcoin itself, attitudes towards cryptocurrencies also appear to have hardly changed since ING previously surveyed people across Europe.
Between December 2017 and this September, the price of Bitcoin has crashed from a high of around $17,000, to around $3,200, and then recovered to currently sit at around $10,500.
However, over the same period of time the percentage of people who believe the likes of Bitcoin are the future of online spending has decreased from 35 per cent to 32 per cent.
The price of Bitcoin, the best-known cryptocurrency, has partially recovered since it collapsed last year from its high of $17,000. It now trades at around $10,000
Among those across Europe, those in Turkey had overwhelmingly the most positive attitude towards cryptocurrency, with 62 per cent feeling positive about its future usage.
Glen Goodman, an investor and author of ‘The Crypto Trader’, said this was hardly surprising given what had happened to the Turkish lira in recent years.
In August last year the currency saw its value against the dollar plummet from 4.85 lira to 6 lira to the dollar, and it still only trades around 5.50 lira to the dollar now.
According to Coinbase, one Bitcoin would currently cost 58,911 Turkish lira.
The country was the only one surveyed by ING in which more than 50 per cent had a positive impression. Among UK respondents 24 per cent felt that way, while the most sceptical country was Austria, which saw only 13 per cent with a positive view on cryptocurrencies.
Across European countries, only Turkey saw a majority of respondents say they felt positively about cryptocurrencies. One crypto investor said this was likely due to its currency difficulties
And, perhaps unsurprisingly given the relative volatility of some cryptocurrencies, those in the UK aren’t clamouring for Bitcoin bank accounts.
Those who knew the most about Bitcoin had the most negative attitude towards it
Just 21 per cent of those in this country believe banks should offer accounts in cryptocurrency, a figure six per cent lower than the continental average.
Exton added: ‘While small groups are enthusiastic about their future use of cryptocurrencies, everyday relevance and demonstrated benefits will be key to turning the crypto curiosity our research reveals into a true money revolution.’
Danny Scott, the chief executive and co-founder of Isle of Man-based cryptocurrency exchange Coin Corner, said: ‘The findings from the ING report are not surprising – although the likes of Bitcoin have been around for just over a decade now, the cryptocurrency industry is still very much in its infancy, so we certainly wouldn’t expect the public to be knowledgeable on the subject just yet.
‘While there may currently be a lack of understanding, the reported awareness of cryptocurrency – 79 per cent – is positive.
‘We hope that over time, with more education and more real world use cases, we will see the one in five that believe Bitcoin is the future of online payments increase.’
Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.