Many UK consumers don’t get Bitcoin, and don’t trust it

A new report has shown the level of mistrust UK consumers hold regarding Bitcoin and other virtual currencies.

The research, which was commissioned by digital commerce experts Venda, and conducted by YouGov across just over 2,000 UK adults, showed that 71 per cent did not want the option of paying for something online via virtual currency.

This was mostly down to distrust of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (and many other alternatives such as Litecoin and Megacoin). 43 per cent of respondents said they didn't trust virtual currency – although the same amount admitted that they didn't understand how virtual currency worked, which may have a lot to do with that mistrust.

The crash of the major Bitcoin exchange MtGox, and all the ensuing controversy is hardly likely to have fuelled trust among those who do understand cryptocurrencies, either. 24 per cent of those who didn't want to use it said they were worried about the stability of Bitcoin, which is known to fluctuate a lot more than a real-world currency.

As for those who wanted online shopping payment options for Bitcoin – 8 per cent simply wanted this because it was a valid currency, and they didn't see any reason why it should be shut out as a result. The anonymity side of the equation appealed to 6 per cent of those pushing for Bitcoin payment usage.

Eric Abensur, Group CEO of Venda, commented: "Much has been said about these new currencies over the last 12 months, but their growth in media speculation makes them a difficult trend to ignore. However, our research warns of a fundamental mistrust of Bitcoin and need for more education on how these virtual currencies actually work if they are to truly take off."

"A time may come where consumers can pay in-store using Bitcoin, but for now the fact that the price of a Bitcoin is in constant flux means that it's simply not a viable way for businesses to take money for products. Even those that are currently taking payment by Bitcoin for products or services are, by and large, converting that to a standard currency for safe keeping and further use."