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Nearly One-Third of People Believe Cryptocurrency is Used Primarily for Illegal Purchases, but Actual Purchases May Be More Boring
[April 08, 2020]

Nearly One-Third of People Believe Cryptocurrency is Used Primarily for Illegal Purchases, but Actual Purchases May Be More Boring

WASHINGTON, April 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- What people believe cryptocurrency is used to purchase strongly differs from what is actually purchased with cryptocurrency, according to new survey data from Visual Objects, a portfolio website.

Visual Objects surveyed 983 people familiar with digital currency about how they use and perceive it, including 157 cryptocurrency owners.

People believe that cryptocurrency is primarily used to purchase stocks (40%) and illegal items (30%). Fewer than one-fifth believe it's mainly used to purchase clothing (15%) or food (14%).

In comparison, cryptocurrency owners say they most frequently purchase food (38%) and clothing (34%) with the currency, followed by stocks (29%).

Though it's impossible to know exactly how many illegal cryptocurrency transactions are happening, the data suggests that cryptocurrency is used for everyday purchases more than the general public believes.

Cryptocurrency Began on the Black Market but Can Now Lead to Positive Change

The first cryptocurrency, bitcoin, initially grew popular on the black market. Now, though, larger businesses are beginning to accept it as a form of payment:

  • Microsoft accepts bitcoin as payment in its Xbox store
  • Overstock currently accepts and holds multiple forms of cryptocurrency
  • KFC Canada accepts bitcoin as payment for food
  • Expedia accepts bitcoin to purchase flights and other forms of travel

Microsoft Founder Bill Gates even sees cryptocurrency as a means of achieving income equality.

"If we were building a financial system from scratch today, we'd do it on a digital platform," Gates said. "Digital can lower the cost of a range of transactions by as much as 90%, providing nearly universal access to innovative financial products and services."

In the past, though, Gates has also strongly denounced cryptocurrency, given its anonymity.

Overall, only 16% of people familiar with cryptocurrency have actually invested in it, indicating that cryptocurrency's stereotypes may be impacting its adoption potential.

Bitcoin Is Most Widely Owned Cryptocurrency

The first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, is still the most popular. Nearly three-quarters of cryptocurrency owners surveyed (70%) say they own bitcoin.

Bitcoin must be "mined" by answering complex math questions through an autonomous software program run by a lottery-based system. Mining bitcoin requires intense computational power.

Bitcoin has dropped in value due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, with its current value approximating $7,000 as of April 7, 2020.

The next most popular cryptocurrencies are Ethereum (27%), Litecoin (20%), and Dogecoin (15%).

Read the full report:

For questions or comments, contact Riley Panko at

About Visual Objects

Visual Objects is a portfolio website that showcases work from top creative firms from around the world. Use Visual Objects to visualize a firm's projects, which helps you find the right design partner for your business. You wouldn't want to make a hiring decision without seeing a company's quality of work – Visual Objects compiles this work on one easy-to-use site.


Riley Panko 
(202) 899-2779

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SOURCE Visual Objects

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