Interest in bitcoin amongst European consumers is set to double as more people learn about the cryptocurrency, according to the findings of a study released this week.
The survey, which was carried out on behalf of the Dutch bank ING by pollsters Ipsos, suggested interest in bitcoin was already on the rise, as more and more consumers learn about the cryptocurrency and its uses.
Interviewing some 15,000 respondents across 13 different European countries, the study found varying degrees of existing knowledge and interest in bitcoin. The survey also spoke to consumers in the USA and Australia, in order to present a detailed picture of how people currently understand and interact with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.
Conducted in late March to early April of this year, the survey found significant interest in bitcoin in Europe in particular, with the continent-wide average of 66% of respondents confirming they had heard of cryptocurrency, with some 77% of males giving a positive response.
The highest country averages were found in Austria, at 79%, Poland at 77% and Romania at 75%. On the lower end of the spectrum, respondents in Belgium, Frances, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom were the least informed, ranging from 38% awareness to 61%.
These figures were in the ballpark of the findings from Australia, where the country-wide average stood at 70%. Surprisingly, the US scored much lower, with just 57% of respondents saying they were familiar with bitcoin.
But while only 9% in Europe said they currently owned any form of cryptocurrency, as many as 25% expected themselves to own cryptocurrency in the future, which would deliver an approximately 16% growth in the total cryptocurrency owner base.
This compares to just 15% of Australians who said they would likely own cryptocurrency in future, and 21% of Americans.
Across the 13 European nations in the survey, 35% of respondents said they expected cryptocurrency prices to rise over the next year, with 34% of Americans and 22% of Australians sharing that view.
Respondents in Turkey were the most bullish, with as many as 51% saying they expected prices to rise over the period, balanced with just 20% who felt the same in Luxembourg.
The picture created by the study is promising for advocates of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and suggests more mainstream adoption may not be too far away.