DIGIFIN20 | News: Crypto currencies

Crypto currencies as a chance for fast and inexpensive payment

  • Two thirds of Germans have already heard of Bitcoin & Co.
  • Every seventh of them would like to handle money transfers directly in Messenger.
  • Majority still considers crypto currencies to be a speculative object only at present

Are crypto currencies a way to pay quickly and cheaply on the Internet or are they primarily a speculative object for financial jugglers? German citizens see both opportunities and disadvantages with digital currencies such as Bitcoin, Etherum & Co. This is the result of a representative survey of 1,004 German citizens aged 16 and over commissioned by the digital association Bitkom. According to the survey, two thirds (68 percent) have already heard or read about crypto currencies, slightly more than a year ago (64 percent). A clear majority of them (62 percent) complain that crypto currencies are only for speculators in view of price fluctuations. However, around one in two also states that crypto currencies enable faster (56 percent) and cheaper (51 percent) money transfers and will make it much easier to pay even the smallest amounts on the Internet (49 percent). "The rapid development of Bitcoin's share price has led to widespread reporting on crypto currencies. However, this has also established the picture that crypto currencies are something like gambling, which can quickly make you rich, but can also lose a lot of money," says Patrick Hansen, head of Blockchain at Bitkom. "Crypto currencies offer many opportunities, for example on the Internet of Things. And in the medium term we will also see widespread digital currencies, be it the e-crown from Sweden, the e-euro or possibly a project supported by a consortium like Libra.


Crypto currencies are still considered complicated

In addition to the strong exchange rate fluctuations, another major point of criticism is the difficult handling of crypto currencies. For example, 6 out of 10 respondents (61 percent) who have already heard about crypto currencies say that they do not use them because they are much too complicated. But more than one in seven (15 percent) would like to use a crypto currency directly in their messenger to pay bills or pass money on to friends. "In the past, crypto currencies have been very popular with people interested in technology. In the future, we will experience crypto currencies in which the handling will not be more complicated than with traditional money - in case of doubt rather easier", says Hansen.


Race for digital money

So far, there is a multitude of different crypto currencies, which show strong price fluctuations and are not compatible with each other. One of the reasons why a Facebook consortium wants to establish a new crypto currency called Libra, which is linked to traditional currencies and government bonds and therefore does not vary so much in value. For such a project, however, persuasion is still necessary. For example, 60 percent of those who have already heard of crypto currencies are afraid that large tech companies will become more powerful as a result. And one in two (51 percent) is currently of the opinion that only central banks should issue currencies. Hansen: "Libra is a wake-up call for central banks and financial regulators worldwide. At last, opportunities and challenges are being discussed at the highest level by so-called stablecoins such as Libra, but also by state digital currencies. Today the EU finance ministers want to talk about the possibilities of a digital euro. We are now witnessing a race for digital money."

Methodological note: The data is based on a survey conducted by Bitkom Research on behalf of Bitkom. 1,004 people aged 16 and over in Germany were interviewed by telephone. The survey is representative.