A new survey of Australian millennials has found that more than two-thirds of them have never heard of a virtual currency called Bitcoin, and that almost two-fifths of them do not know it exists.
“I’ve been in this field for a long time, I’ve been doing it for many years,” says 18-year-old student Hannah Kueppers.
“I’ve seen it happen before and I’ve seen people make money with it.
But I don’t think it’s for everybody.”
Kueppers has been in the Bitcoin business for about three years, having worked as an investor in the industry for the last few years.
She’s one of the first people to learn about it through her school’s virtual currency club.
“They [the club] are a group of people who are interested in Bitcoin and want to try and get into it, and they have a group where they meet to talk about it,” she says.
“But I’ve never met any other people who have been in it before.”
Kuesppers was not surprised to find that there was so little knowledge about Bitcoin among young people.
“It was really, really shocking to see so little information on it,” says Kuepper.
“It’s not a topic that is widely discussed, there’s a lot of misinformation and people don’t understand it.”
Her club was formed to get more people in the virtual currency space to learn more about it, so it was able to gather a lot more data on its members.
“There was a lot going on, it was a great opportunity for me to learn a lot about it and be able to build a better relationship with people,” Kuesppers says.
“One of the things I learnt was how much people loved the fact that they could send me a bitcoin, and so it’s not something that I’m really worried about right now, but I’ll probably keep an eye on it.”
Kuelsts experience with Bitcoin has been “very positive”, and she’s been able to use her money to buy goods and services online.
“Bitcoin is definitely changing the way people do things and how things are done,” she explains.
“If you have a small business, you don’t have to worry about all of the money stuff, you can just use it to pay the bills and everything.”
She says she was able get a car for herself and her partner by sending them a Bitcoin.
“We don’t want to have to go into the store and have to spend money on credit cards or anything like that,” she tells the ABC.
“We just want to use our Bitcoin to buy the car, we want to do things like that.”
My first bitcoin transaction was about two months ago.
That’s pretty nice.””
People have told us it’s like $100 a month,” says Katie, 18.
“That’s pretty nice.”
Katie says she thinks it’s worth a try for those who have little experience in the area.
“In the US, people don’ think about bitcoin at all, they’re just going to look at the price and think it must be worth something,” she adds.
“And if it’s a bit more than $100 or something like that, it’ll probably be worth it for them.”
Katies experience is just one example of how the digital asset is changing.
“People are not thinking about it in the same way they used to,” says 24-year old Sydney-based digital currency entrepreneur, Josh Lissak.
“With Bitcoin, people are thinking about how they can save money or how they’re going to use it for their own purposes.”
Lissak has been experimenting with virtual currencies for the past year, and says he’s already seen an increase in interest in the technology.
“As the technology continues to advance, the more people who use it, the easier it is to integrate it into their lives,” he says.
As Bitcoin becomes more popular, it’s likely to have an even bigger impact on the financial sector.
“The people who own Bitcoins are people who aren’t working on anything else right now,” says Lissk.
“The average Bitcoin user, on average, is working on some kind of tech, like an app or something.”
Now, people that do work on something like a blockchain are not necessarily necessarily those who are using Bitcoin for a financial purpose.
“So Bitcoin is going to make a lot less sense for them, for instance, if they were working on a financial service that was built using Ethereum, or other cryptocurrencies, that might be an easier fit.”
The survey by the digital cash and blockchain startup, CoinLab, found that two-quarters of the surveyed respondents said they had never heard about Bitcoin.
Of those who had heard of it, two-in-three of them were using it for buying goods and using it to do business online.
But that didn’t mean that they were all that interested in it.
Of the people who were aware of