Canada survey reveals patchy understanding of cryptocurrencies

June 29, 2018
Chris Wheal

A study by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) suggests that one in 20 of the Canadian province’s citizens own what the regulator calls “cryptoassets” such as Bitcoin or Ether and while awareness is increasing, their knowledge is often lacking.

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC)

The Ontario Securities Commission conducted the online survey in March.

The OSC conducted the online survey of 2,500 Ontarians in March, which found that 1.5% confirmed they had participated in an initial coin offering (ICO) of digital tokens. However, when asked to identify true statements about these digital assets, just over one in three (34%) per cent were able to do so.

“We did find there is a lot of awareness of the sector, and people are increasingly participating or being approached, but that understanding and knowledge and comprehension of the sector is lagging,” said Tyler Fleming, the director of the OSC’s investor office.

In addition to the 5% of survey respondents who said they currently own a cryptoasset; an additional 4% of Ontarians said they had previously owned one. The group most likely to report owning a cryptoasset were men aged 18 to 34, at 14%.

Just over half of cryptocurrency/digital asset owners said they spent between zero and C$1,000 on their acquisition. Around 5% spent between C$10,000 and C$19,999, and another four per cent spent more than $20,000.

More than half of cryptoasset owners (55%) made their purchases using cash savings and 26% said they used their credit card, although 14% claimed to have received their holding without spending anything.

Tech enthusiasm

Among the survey’s other findings, nearly half of the cryptocurrency holders bought the assets because of their enthusiasm for the technology, while 42% did so in the hope of making profits by selling at a higher price.

The OSC also found that many Ontarians.do not understand basics of cryptocurrency technology. More than 80% of survey respondents indicated they had heard of bitcoin, but when asked six questions about the currency only about 30% could answer four or more correctly, and just 3% answered all six.

The survey came shortly after the OSC joined forces with its peers in Canada and the US to warn investors about cryptocurrency-related investment schemes. The Commission also said in April that it was gathering information on several cryptocurrency trading platforms in response to a number of complaints.

Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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