The study results presented in the results section indicate that 61% of the undergraduate participants had background information on the cryptocurrency, while 58% of the non-undergraduate precipitants had no background information about bitcoin. Although most of the respondents had background information on cryptocurrency, only a few – 20% of the respondents – own bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies. These results confirm the postulation made in the introduction section that most of the cryptocurrency users are young individuals aged between 18 years and 27 years. These results are in consistent with a study conducted by the Blockchain Capital (2019), in which it was established that Bitcoin awareness is high among all age groups; however, the usage is very low.
In Figure 2, it is evident that the most popular cryptocurrency among all the respondents is bitcoin. In comparison to the other cryptocurrencies, there are various reasons for its huge user base. First, its popularity is based on the fact that it was the first digital currency that lead to the inception of the idea of cryptocurrency and its infrastructure. Consequently, currently there many merchants who accept bitcoin for shopping, for instance, retail giants Amazon (Iansiti & Lakhani, 2017) and McDonalds. This developments means that when compared to the other cryptocurrencies, bitcoin experiences more and real mainstream adoption. Furthermore, it invented the blockchain infrastructure that the other digital currencies utilize (Twesige, 2015). Luther (2016) notes that the blockchain technology is considered to be secure and private, providing high security to the people and society’s holdings, thus, ensuring viability and value to the users. In addition, bitcoin provides the highest market capitalization value than ethereum and the other cryptocurrencies. Based on the results achieved in this study, it can be summarized that the popularity of a cryptocurrency is directly correlated to its age. The older the cryptocurrency, the higher the popularity, and the higher the market capitalization.
Figure 3 shows that many participants (specifically 61%) buy bitcoins for investment. Evidence suggests that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have a higher return on investment and has been used by many to transact and store value. For instance, in 2009, when bitcoin was launched by Satoshi Nakamoto, one bitcoin was equivalent to $1. However, within less than ten years, the value of bitcoin had multiplied by more than 10000%, and consequently, most of the initial bitcoin investors have become dollar billionaires (Street Authority, 2018). Although bitcoin has high return on investments, it has high volatility, hence a high-risk investment (Bukovina & Martiček, 2016). Approximately 33% of the respondents utilize bitcoins as a means of money transfer. International money transfers and payments are deemed very expensive and even time-consuming, with fees ranging from as high as more than 3% of the funds transferred. This makes bitcoins the best cost-effective means to send funds overseas. They also have transfer fees, though less outrageous.
Even though bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are very popular, their unpredictability discourages most users from acquiring them. As presented in Figure 4, a very small number of the respondents are likely to purchase cryptocurrencies, despite a large percentage of participants having background information about cryptocurrencies. The decline of interest in the use of cryptocurrency is attributed to the “lack of obvious use of the cryptocurrency,” its bubble-like behaviour and its association with illegal activities such as drug trafficking. Street Authority (2018) indicates that the market for digital currency is still in its infancy stage and thus characterized by a higher percentage of volatility. This will only decline with time to create smooth equity curves. Therefore, individuals tend to only invest what they can afford to lose.
Implications of the Study
This study aimed to examine the popularity of bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies, with Chestnut Hill College students used as the case study. Through the study, the reasons for the utilization and purchase of the various cryptocurrencies have been identified. It is noted that bitcoin is the most popular digital currency since it was the pioneer cryptocurrency and is characterized by the existence a large user base and the availability of various shopping merchants, which accept it.
The study has established that cryptocurrency, particularly bitcoin is being accepted in the mainstream for various reasons despite still being in its early stages of development. They are being used for investment, shopping, and to transfer money. This indicates that they possess real world applications, some of which are cheaper than utilizing fiat currencies. This information can be utilized by companies like Amazon and McDonalds, who have incorporated the blockchain technology into their inventory systems. It provides necessary information such as the population that is mostly accustomed to purchase bitcoin. This helps instigate a targeted selling mechanism, where the merchant examines the popular products for the population and makes them available in bitcoin.
This project produced a video to educate the older people on the core basics of bitcoin. In comparison to the younger generation, old people remain less informed in matters pertaining to the digital currency, specifically bitcoin. The video offers the extent by which bitcoins has increased in value since its inception in 2009, indicating its potential in job creation, its negative impacts to economies, how it works, its security, and the demographics that continually use it. As a learning tool, the video is made simple to allow the older generation to fully understand the fundamental concepts that encompass this virtually mined currency. The current generation and the older generation employs distinct learning approaches. The video presentation provides a unique, simple, and well-explained background of bitcoins, a step-by-step presentation of ideas, and applies short sentences that can be easily understood by an old person.
Alm3shoo8 (2019). Interesting Information about Bitcoins. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=me3sRLpBXAI&feature=youtu.be
Bukovina, J., & Martiček, M. (2016). Sentiment and bitcoin volatility (No. 2016-58). Mendel University in Brno, Faculty of Business and Economics.
Iansiti, M., & Lakhani, K. R. (2017). The truth about blockchain. Harvard Business Review, 95(1), 118-127.
Luther, W. J. (2016). Regulating Bitcoin: On What Grounds?. Luther, William J.
Street Authority. (2018, March 2). 5 Reasons To Buy Cryptocurrency Now. Retrieved from https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/5-reasons-buy-cryptocurrency-now-2018-03-02
Twesige, R. L. (2015). A simple explanation of Bitcoin and Blockchain technology.