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Public Thinks Bitcoin is Mainly for Darknet Use, Study Shows

YouGov, an international market research company, conducted a study on Bitcoin and Ethereum. The findings, the company said, in spite of the growing popularity of both currencies, indicated several findings that some may find surprising.

YouGov researches nearly everything. “Domino’s trails behind rival Pizza Hut in quality perception,” one of the company’s tweets reads. Another tweet points out that “53% of US adults prefer hearing the bad news before hearing the good news.” One of the more recent tweets, though, mentioned the legality of Bitcoin. “29% of US adults think Bitcoin and Ether are mostly used for illegal dark web transactions,” the tweet conveyed.

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The company’s study asked several questions—many of which focused on Bitcoin and Ethereum’s future usability, along with current public knowledge of the two cryptocurrencies. Some of the questions were short and simple, such as:

  • Have you heard of Bitcoin?
  • Have you heard of Ethereum or Ether?
  • Have you ever used Bitcoin?
  • Have you ever used Ether?

Some of the questions were more complex and telling as to what a sample of the public assumed Bitcoin was used for, such as:

  • [What] do you think people mainly use crypto currencies (e.g., Bitcoin, Ether, etc) for?
  • Do you think crypto currencies (e.g., Bitcoin, Ether, etc.) are mainly used to make legal or illegal purchases, or is it about equal?

The first set of questions required an answer of a single yes or no. And the second, of course, called for far more complex answers.


66 percent of respondents heard of Bitcoin. A mere 13 percent had used Bitcoin. Ether, despite making recent mainstream news, apparently impacted the general population far less than Bitcoin. Only 24 percent even heard of the cryptocurrency and off that 24 percent, 21 percent claimed they had used it.

As for the purpose of the crypto currencies (and cryptocurrencies in general), the set of options were listed as follows: “To make legal transactions online; to save for the future; to purchase illegal goods/services through the dark web; something else; other; don’t know.”


Although the majority of respondents reported that they did not know the purpose of the cryptocurrencies, the majority who knew something voted that Bitcoin and Ethereum exist “to purchase illegal goods/services through the dark web.” 29 percent of the participants responded that that currencies were for illegal darknet purposes. Only 17 percent believed the currencies were for legal online purchases.

The full study is available here: YouGovNY Bitcoin

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