Bitcoin (BTC) in a Bank of Canada study: bitcoiners have low financial literacy

A study by the Central Bank of Canada shows that Bitcoin owners surveyed have, on average, lower financial literacy than those who do not own Bitcoin (BTC).

For the study, surveys were conducted annually for four years from 2016 to 2020. The number of respondents ranged from 1,987 to 3,893.

The full Bank of Canada study, titled “Bitcoin Awareness, Ownership and Use: 2016-20,” was released on Tuesday. One of the main conclusions of the study:

“Bitcoin owners demonstrated better knowledge of the Bitcoin network than non-owners, but scored lower on financial literacy questions.”

However, financial literacy was tested with just three multiple-choice questions, covering interest rates, inflation, and understanding stocks and mutual funds. The three Bitcoin questions were about supply, the digital ledger, and whether or not the network is government funded.

Given the small number of questions, it is debatable whether this is an accurate measure of an individual’s financial literacy. On the other hand, the questions are quite simple.

Financial Literacy and Bitcoin Questions: Bank of Canada

Researchers from the Bank of Canada stressed that it is important to explore “the interplay between financial literacy and participation in the cryptocurrency market” because there are many risks associated with the sector that education could potentially avoid.


The data shows that the average bitcoin holders over those four years were young men between the ages of 18 and 34, and that the number of men at least doubled that of women each year. The gender gap has long been a hotly debated topic in the relatively short history of cryptocurrency.

“Overall, the marginal effects are consistent with the descriptive results discussed previously. We find that being female, older, and unemployed decreases the likelihood of owning Bitcoin, but increases with higher education,” the report states.

A common type of bitcoin trader was identified in the report. Educated young men who have low levels of financial literacy but earn over $70,000 are most typical:

“In particular, young, male, employed Canadians with a college degree, high household income and relatively low financial literacy are more likely to own Bitcoin.”

In this context: Research Firm Predicts 3.6 Million Americans Will Shop With Cryptocurrencies in 2022


At the other end of the spectrum were those who were financially savvy and knew Bitcoin but did not own it.

Interestingly, the reasons given in the study for why these people did not own bitcoin were not necessarily anti-bitcoin. The most common responses were a lack of understanding and that current payment methods are unsatisfactory.

The third reason is that respondents “do not trust a private currency that is not backed by a government”.

“We find that between 2018 and 2020, awareness and ownership of Bitcoin among Canadians remained stable: nearly 90% of the population knew about Bitcoin, but only 5% owned it.”

Cointelegraph previously reported a single survey of this study called the Cash Alternative Survey. This shows that Canadians with less financial literacy are twice as likely to invest in crypto.

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