LendEdu commissioned a survey in November 2017 of 564 Americans who had invested in Bitcoin. While surveys have been done in the past to gauge the awareness of the general public about Bitcoin, this survey focused on American Bitcoin investors and their sentiments. We have come a long way from 2015, when 65% of Americans surveyed didn’t know what Bitcoin was. The questions asked in the survey ranged from their reasons for investing in Bitcoin to when they would sell all their Bitcoins.
Sell all your Bitcoin?
The average price at which the survey respondents said that they will sell all their Bitcoins is $196,166 per Bitcoin. This represents 30x the value of Bitcoin prevailing at the time of the survey. It is to be noted that this is the price at which the respondents will sell all their Bitcoins. Almost a third (32.62%) have sold some of their Bitcoins since they started investing. It is tempting to book profits, given how the price of Bitcoin has rallied in the last year.
Most of the respondents plan to hold their Bitcoins at least one year, with only 16.49% planning to sell sooner than that. According to the survey, 21% of Bitcoin investors plan to hold on to their coins for at least seven years, and 11.7% say they will hold the currency for 10 years or longer.
Store of value or speculative investment?
While pundits debate whether people are investing in Bitcoin because they treat it as a store of value or as a speculative investment, the survey results indicate something completely different. According to LendEdu:
“The most popular selection, chosen by 40.78 percent of respondents, was “I believe Bitcoin is a world changing technology.” It is interesting to see that the plurality of Bitcoin investors are backing the technology as the primary reason for investing. Often, financial professionals speculate that Bitcoin investors are chasing a big payout.”
It seems that the naysayers are wrong, and these aren’t merely “greater fools” chasing huge gains. Instead, American Bitcoin investors are apparently sophisticated enough to realize the value of the project’s technology.
The next largest group of respondents see Bitcoin as something akin to digital gold:
“The second most popular reason why investors liked Bitcoin, chosen by 21.81 percent of respondents, was for the possibility of long term storage of value of it. Many financial professionals often compare Bitcoin to precious metals like gold, silver, and platinum. For centuries, investors have used precious metals as a way to diversify away from government backed currency.”
Worried About Safety
Another big takeaway from the survey is that almost half (44.15%) of the respondents were worried about the technological safety of their Bitcoins. This isn’t surprising, considering high profile cases such as Mt. Gox. That exchange, the largest in the world by volume, went bust and its former CEO was arrested in Japan on embezzlement charges. He has pleaded not guilty.
In addition to the ill-fated Mt. Gox, numerous other exchanges have faced security problems. Multiple exchanges have been hacked and their customers’ Bitcoins have been lost. While Bitcoin holders can follow certain practices like keeping their Bitcoins in cold storage to increase security, the survey shows that ordinary investors continue to worry about the safety of their coins.