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Kaspersky reports that only 1 in 10 people ‘get’ crypto

A new report published by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky sheds light on the state of cryptocurrency adoption. The report says that the majority of the public still has a very limited understanding of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

The report, Uncharted territory: Why consumers are still wary about adopting cryptocurrency, is a 2019 iteration of the annual Kaspersky Cryptocurrency Report. This year’s report focused on consumer opinions of cryptocurrencies.

The scope of the study

Data for the report was collected through a survey conducted in October and November 2018. A total of 13,434 respondents in 22 countries were polled during the data collection period.

The perceived slow pace of crypto adoption has been an ongoing narrative in the wider crypto space. With crypto only recently emerging from the bear market, attention turned to other metrics to define how the industry was performing without relying on price as the determining factor.

Recent trends indicate the continued growth of a robust sector despite the 2018 collapse in asset prices. The crypto asset industry is maturing, as high-level policymakers discuss regulations at the G20 Osaka Summit, the number of cryptocurrency users continues to grow every month, and the ongoing discussion around Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project will generate visibility and help further legitimize the crypto ecosystem.

Despite these encouraging signs, the Kaspersky report makes it clear that public understanding of crypto will take place over a longer time frame.

In the blockchain too complex?

Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are difficult concepts to fully grasp. The steep learning curve, as well as the fast-evolving nature of the technology, contribute to a confusing environment for non-technical individuals.

The complexity of the technology underlying the sector is not lost on the market. Kaspersky reports, “Only one-in-ten (10%) of the people we surveyed said they fully understand how cryptocurrencies work, while 45% said they have heard of the concept but do not know how it works.”

Additionally, the complex nature of the industry is contributing to the loss of consumers at the market level. Kaspersky found that a large number of those interacting with the sector understood portions of the tech while many gave up on digital coin holdings due to the complexity. The report stated, “Perhaps even more telling is that 29% of people claim to know how cryptocurrencies work, but only to a certain extent, and 18% have stopped using them because they became too technically complicated.”

User Numbers

Of the 13,434 respondents based out of 22 counties across the world, 81 percent have never purchased cryptocurrency.

A third of the respondents surveyed believe ‘cryptocurrency’ is a buzzword that will eventually blow over to be replaced with a more durable and stable offering. This portion of the market does not believe in the long-term viability of crypto assets. Interestingly, of those not using digital currencies currently, 14 percent intend to do so in the future.

19 percent of the respondents who use crypto assets have lost holdings through theft, fraud, exchange hacks or online scams.

Long-term use

Kaspersky found that only a quarter of people who use cryptocurrencies always remember their credentials. While this may seem like an insignificant factor, it points to the increasing difficulty individuals have with the data they use to log in to their many online platforms.

This casual approach to login data may mean that the market is unwilling to take important security guidelines seriously. “With yet another password to remember to access our online lives, unless they get real value out of the technology many people who fail to commit their passwords or usernames to memory or a password manager, will give up on using the technology because it is too impractical.”

However, it’s worth noting that the Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP), the mail protocol used for accessing email on a remote web server from a local client, is also technically complex and not widely understood by the general public. In the early days of email, sending an email was a technical process. Today, improvements in UX have made it simple to send an email, and an understanding of the technical processes is not required. Eventually, it’s likely that the same thing will happen with crypto assets.

The Kaspersky report predicts that more consumers are likely to begin using crypto as complexity decreases and the security risks and volatility decreases.


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