Four percent of Austrians have already paid with cryptocurrencies

A quarter of the population can imagine paying with cryptocurrencies in online trading. 41 Percent have security concerns, according to the # RethinkRetail study by the trade association. […]

23 Percent of Austrians can imagine using cryptocurrencies in the future for payment transactions in the store or webshop (c) Unsplash

After a historic high in the Corona year 2020 and in the first quarter of 2021, the price of cryptocurrencies has recently come under massive pressure. Currently, a Bitcoin costs about 33.170 euros, in mid-April it was still 54.200 euros. According to the trade association, the reasons are manifold: WeChat messages from the Chinese National Bank, contradictory tweets from Tesla founder Elon Musk or ongoing discussions about the enormous energy consumption when mining the coins.

The trade association and the market research institute MindTake Research have therefore asked more than 1,000 consumers what they think of cryptocurrencies and who is already paying or investing with them today.

“The blockchain has finally arrived in the mainstream at the latest in the course of the corona crisis. Every seventh person has already invested in Bitcoin, Ethereum & Co. After all, four percent of Austrians have even paid with cryptocurrencies,“ says Rainer Will, Managing Director of the trade association and co-initiator of the blockchain initiative Smart Regulation, the central results of the new #RethinkRetail study.

The domestic trading companies can also be pleased, according to the trade association: After all, 23 percent of Austrians can imagine using cryptocurrencies for payment processes in the store or webshop in the future. These figures prove that the merchant community should deal intensively with the blockchain topic. The advantages are obvious: global availability, decentralized peer-to-peer concept, uncensorability and low transaction fees.

Security concerns & amp; Price fluctuations as inhibiting factors

However, there are still some challenges to overcome before the leading cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ether, Tether, Ripple or Polkadot can actually compete with the prevailing central bank money today: Massive price fluctuations ensure that many coins are regarded as a highly speculative investment rather than an everyday means of payment. This problem could be solved by stablecoins, which are covered by real reserves of a fiat currency. For example, a “digital euro” should revolutionize the market.

Energy consumption, in turn, rightly triggers criticism in times of climate crisis (Bitcoin mining consumes an enormous amount of electricity). In addition, there are widespread security concerns and the fear of hacker attacks.

“Lack of trust is the decisive factor for the ongoing scepticism towards digital means of payment in parts of the population. Half of Austrians assess cryptocurrencies as risky due to price volatility, 41 percent are afraid of hacker attacks when using digital means of payment. If we succeed in solving these problem areas, cryptocurrencies and other blockchain applications can really take off in trade, ” says Will.

73 Percent Have Never Heard of Nun-Fungible Token

The same goes for the recent hype around blockchain: NFT is short for Non-Fungible Token (non-exchangeable token) and represents a unique digital asset that cannot be exchanged one-to-one for another like cash or Bitcoin. Non-fungible tokens thus have an individual value similar to art objects, they contain information that proves their uniqueness. When this data is stored on a blockchain, individual ownership relationships can be documented and traced.

The trade association has now carried out the first NFT consumer survey in Austria. The result? “A quarter of domestic consumers have at least heard of the NFT trend, but 2.3 percent have already bought or sold NFTs. Non-fungible tokens have definitely come to stay, ” trade spokesman Rainer Will is convinced.

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