A study of Irish attitudes to cryptocurrencies has revealed a shift “from suspicion to curiosity” based on the increase in knowledge, trading, and usage of digital currencies in the European country.
The Irish Times recently published the findings of a study by Amárach Research and communications agency Red Flag. The research suggests around 120,000 people in Ireland own cryptocurrency, an increase that would equate to around 300%.
According to the Times, the study also suggests more than 180,000 people have in recent years traded or used Bitcoin, leading to the conclusion that attitudes are shifting. It also found that 85% of those surveyed were aware of Bitcoin, compared to less than half in a previous Amárach Research study in 2014.
Amárach Research and Red Flag conducted the survey with a “representative sample” of 1,000 people in Ireland over the age of 16. A study they say is the first in a series “examining currency and fintech innovations.”
The survey found men in Ireland were only slightly more likely to use cryptocurrencies than women. From the raw data 5% of those surveyed who owned cryptocurrencies were men and 3% were women.
It also found millennials in the 25-34-year-old age bracket are three times more likely to own cryptocurrencies than other age segments.
The data seems to conflict with a more apparent global divide of fewer women than men using cryptocurrencies. Around 5-7% per cent of total cryptocurrency users are women according to a report by Forbes in December 2017.
A recent survey by the London Block Exchange found that one in eight women in the U.K would consider investing in a cryptocurrency, a figure of 13% compared to a previous figure of 6% in late 2017.
Agnes de Royere, Senior Business Analyst at the London Block Exchange said:
“There’s still a common misconception that cryptocurrency is a game for men, but we’ve seen hundreds of women sign up for our exchange in the last few months and some of the most inspiring and knowledgeable investors, leading the way in the industry are female.”
Again in comparison to the Amárach figures, Trust Wallet analysed its website visitors in January and found women only represented 5.7% of the total numbers.
The Amárach study is not detailed enough to conclude if women in Ireland are more inclined to invest in cryptocurrencies, but the data and comparisons are certainly interesting.
Globally there is certainly a lack of diversity when it comes to gender and cryptocurrency ownership, a lack of diversity that likely mirrors the technology sector as a whole.
Of cryptocurrency ownership in Ireland, the Amárach study found Bitcoin the most popular coin with 44% of owners holding the coin, 30% own Litecoin and 27% Ethereum.
Despite an increase in the knowledge and ownership of cryptocurrencies, 74% of those surveyed had not heard of blockchain. Of the 22% who had heard of blockchain, 41% said they knew “very little.”
Gerard O’Neill, Amárach Research Chairman, says that although the increased interest creates ideal conditions for future higher cryptocurrency ownership that:
“Cryptocurrency advocates still have a long way to go in driving higher adoption in Ireland,”
Amárach Research has published the raw data from the study to its website with historic US and Irish comparisons.
CoinJournal reached out to the cryptocurrency community in Ireland to ask about the shape of the cryptocurrency scene there and to find out if others are finding that attitudes are changing:
Joseph Thompson, CEO and Co-founder of Dublin-based blockchain company AID:Tech , told us:
“It is an encouraging sign that cryptocurrency adoption is on the rise in Ireland. This would really suggest that we are hitting certain critical mass, enough so that people are willing to give this very disruptive technology a try.”
Thompson feels it will take practical uses for blockchain technology to sustain the trend and influence the public. Though it could be cryptocurrency, he believes the key is in blockchain applications and services.
“It needs to be something that is socially relevant, can make genuine difference to the status quo for the better, and fits the consumers’ needs.”
Shane Brett, Co-Founder and CEO of regulatory blockchain technology firm GECKO Governance , which has offices in County Louth, Ireland commented:
“Ireland has had a long history of innovation and technology and has emerged as a European leader in the space.”
Brett points out the number of large technology companies that have taken up residence in Ireland alongside the “vibrant tech startup scene” which he feels is supported by many government agencies.
“The millennial population is becoming more curious about cryptocurrencies as they are increasingly discussed in media circles and by larger financial institutions who are beginning to move into this space. Indeed, their interest is also piqued by the new breed of ‘crypto millionaires’.”
Brett feels as more Irish companies adopt cryptocurrencies to raise funds and make payments, interest and understanding in the country will expand and evolve.