More than half of people think cryptocurrency will be accepted in shops and on buses by 2025, with one in five already banking some digital currency.
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A study of 2,000 people by lending platform Lendingblock revealed that most think cryptocurrency is here to stay, with 55% expecting shops and buses to accept it in seven years’ time. Just over 20% of respondents said they either own or have owned cryptocurrency.
One-fifth of respondents said they were certain cryptocurrency is a good investment, and 56% said they might be tempted to obtain some in the future. One-third (32%) of people said better security would make them more likely to buy cryptocurrencies.
As the popularity and value of cryptocurrencies have increased, so has cyber crime activity aimed at cashing in on this trend, mainly in the form cryptocurrency mining malware. According to a report from NTT Security, about 12,000 monero mining malware samples dating back to March 2015 have been identified by researchers at the company’s Global Threat Intelligence Center (GTIC).
In the Lendingblock study, 28% of respondents said they would be more tempted by cryptocurrency if there were better apps for buying and selling it, and 23% said government backing would encourage then to invest. Only 10% said they would never buy cryptocurrencies in any circumstances.
“In spite of much-discussed uncertainty about cryptocurrency, the public is sure that it is here to stay,” said Lendingblock CEO Steve Swain. “Cryptocurrency is a maturing market, and this is exactly what we would expect to see happening at this time as we move from early adopters to more mainstream awareness and use.”
Swain welcomed the recent government announcement of an inquiry into cryptocurrency. “Before we get there, cryptocurrency needs to be made safe, and that is why we welcome the UK government’s recently announced inquiry into investments,” he said.
In February, parliament’s Treasury committee said it was looking at the opportunities and risks associated with digital currency and how technologies such as blockchain would affect the finance sector.
The inquiry will assess how the government and financial services regulators such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Bank of England can create an environment to protect consumers without holding back innovation.
Meanwhile, Bank of England governor Mark Carney wants cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin to be brought into line with the regulated financial markets.
Bitcoin is the best known digital currency, but there are thousands of them. A study of the cryptocurrency market from 2013 to May 2017 carried out by City, University of London and published in the Royal Society’s Open Science Journal treated cryptocurrencies as an ecological species. It looked at 1,500 cryptocurrencies and found that none of them has shown a strong selective advantage over the others and that they all face an uncertain fate.