A report from survey data firm Visual Objects suggests that bitcoin isn’t being used for black market purchases as much as everyone thinks.
Visual Objects: BTC Isn’t As Bad As You Thought
For many people, bitcoin and crime go hand in hand. Even regulators and government officials seem to think this is true. Bitcoin, allegedly, offers the anonymity users need to purchase items like drugs, guns and other illicit goods without getting caught.
However, this has become something of a stereotype over the years. While the darknet does exist and bitcoin transactions no doubt take place on the darknet, this is far from where and how bitcoin is primarily used. In fact, most bitcoin purchases involve everyday items such as food and clothing, and users are not criminals but standard customers you might find in a grocery store.
Approximately 983 people took part in the survey. Some had at least a basic understanding of bitcoin. They knew what it was, they understood what it could be used for, and had an idea of its digital properties, while another portion of participants possessed virtually no understanding of BTC or crypto.
Of the 983 surveyed, approximately 157 people admitted to owning cryptocurrency. It was these participants that suggested purchase routes for bitcoin other than black market deals. About 38 percent said they primarily used bitcoin to purchase food items. Another 34 percent said they had used it to buy clothing, while just shy of 30 percent said they had used BTC to purchase stock shares.
While the report did not give exact numbers regarding how many illegal purchases are made using bitcoin or other forms of crypto, the data suggests that standard, general purchases utilizing bitcoin are far more common.
Two conclusions can be reached from this data. The first is that bitcoin is far more legitimate than originally thought and that it’s inching closer and closer to mainstream territory.
At the same time, however, it can be argued that the survey is not entirely complete or based on completely honest testimonies. After all, who’s going to admit that they’ve used bitcoin or crypto to purchase illegal goods? Probably no one.
Visual Objects also suggests that bigger businesses are permitting bitcoin payments for goods and services. Among the largest crypto-accepting merchants are Microsoft, which allows bitcoin payments in its Xbox store; KFC Canada, which allows customers to purchase meals with BTC, and Expedia, which permits users to buy travel tickets with digital currency.
Allowing People to Stay Equal
Microsoft founder Bill Gates says that crypto can potentially lead to income equality:
If we were building a financial system from scratch today, we’d do it on a digital platform. Digital can lower the cost of a range of transactions by as much as 90 percent, providing nearly universal access to innovative financial products and services.