Commenting on cryptocurrencies, the Dutch banking conglomerate ING stated that the new digital asset class needs to become ‘useful, relevant, and trustworthy’ in order to become equal to fiat money. In a report named ‘From cash to crypto: the money revolution’, ING conducted an international survey that researched the way people spend, invest, save, and feel about money.
Published on 18 September, the banking conglomerate announced that the online survey was carried out by Ipsos between the 30 January and 11 February 2019. Surveying several prominent figures, ING revealed in their report what the real state of cryptocurrencies is.
In total, the survey includes a sample size of 14,824 individuals from 15 countries all around the world.
For the bank, ‘cash is still king’. ING’s lead economist for digital finance and regulation, Teunis Brosens, states that technical improvements are required before digital assets reach the global market and become mainstream.
Opinion and knowledge about cryptocurrencies
According to the report, the surveyed individuals have mixed feelings about the disruptive sector. Many of them shared both positive and negative thoughts about the sector, while a part remained neutral. The notable conclusion was that many have heard about the new asset class, but do not quite understand how it works.
The survey cites that 74% of participants know that cryptocurrencies are a digital asset. However, a significant portion of the participants responded that they are controlled by a single governing entity. 73% of the participants either claimed so or did not know whether cryptocurrencies are centralized or decentralized.
What stood out was that 33% of the participants stated that they actively research about cryptocurrencies online. Compared to last year’s report, only 27% claimed to do so.
Could bank-issued crypto reach mainstream adoption?
One of the questions included the possibility of holding and having cryptocurrencies managed in bank accounts. Despite offering a more traditional sense of security, only 27% of Europeans responded positively to the idea, while 40% were against it. With that in mind, it seems that Central bank digital currency (CBDC) would not see a significant amount of adoption.
The report also found out whether ‘cash is still king’. When asked about if they would prefer if cash did not exist, only 22% of Europeans and 18% of Americans responded positively. Overall, 54% of participants disagreed with the notion of cash no longer existing.
Compared to last year’s survey, 34% of Europeans and 38% of Americans said that they would go completely cashless if they could.
Would people adopt payment solutions such as Libra?
Concerning opinions on a national level, Turkey was the most optimistic country about the future of cryptocurrencies. 62% of surveyed individuals shared a positive attitude towards the sector. Turkey stands out as the country faced with a volatile national currency, which led to great interest in using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as a store of value asset.
The numbers vary significantly between other parts of the world. When asked if they would use a cryptocurrency that would allow them to send money over social platforms, 66% of Europeans stated that they are completely against the notion, while only 17% would use such an asset.
Interestingly enough, the idea mirrors what Libra is attempting to achieve. As the survey was conducted prior to the project’s official announcement, it seems that financial institutions are researching whether projects like Libra can compete with them.
Referring to Facebook’s cryptocurrency, ING’s Brosens stated that Libra will be ‘one of the first major tests in the field for social media companies.’ He added that such projects could solve the question of how the regulatory environment would react, and how Libra would work for both domestic and cross-border payments.