Abstract,Golden Bitcoin money on computer.
© Narong Rotjanaporn / 123RF Stock Photo

More Canadians are aware of Bitcoin and more are buying it, but early adopters have also dumped it, according to the Bank of Canada.

The latest edition of the central bank’s survey that monitors Bitcoin trends found that awareness rose from 62% in 2016 to 89% in 2018. The prevalence of Bitcoin ownership also rose, from 3% to 5%.

However, the central bank noted that the proportion of past Bitcoin owners also increased, “suggesting an influx of Bitcoin owners who subsequently divested after the steep rise of prices in 2017.”

Indeed, the survey found that the primary reason for owning Bitcoin is speculation — but the number of Canadians who used Bitcoin for transactions, such as buying goods and services, or making transfers to others, also increased in 2018.

The survey’s findings indicated that the overall increase in Bitcoin ownership was not uniform across demographic groups. “For example, while there was little change in ownership among men or those aged 18 to 34, ownership increased more among women and those aged 35 or older,” the Bank of Canada found.

The central bank reported that those with high education or high household income were much more likely to own Bitcoin than people with low education or income. Survey respondents with higher levels of financial literacy were more likely to have heard of Bitcoin, but were less likely to own it.

Looking ahead, the Bank of Canada said future editions of the survey may ask about the awareness of proposed regulatory frameworks for cryptoassets in Canada, and whether the recent events involving crypto exchanges have discouraged people from adopting Bitcoin.

The central bank also intends to study Canadians’ adoption and usage of privately issued digital currency, particularly stablecoins.