While looking at the results of our recent poll of bitcoin users in the UK, it’s easy to find a few questions that didn’t come back with surprising answers. For example, the vast majority of bitcoin users are males in their 20s or 30s, and 82 percent of them feel as though not enough retail establishments accept bitcoin as payment for goods or services.
Having said that, there were a few surprising facts about UK bitcoin users found in our survey. It seems that people are using bitcoin for more than just “hodling”, and LocalBitcoins has beaten out some larger institutions as the exchange of choice. Perhaps the most surprising finding from the poll is that most bitcoiners in the UK don’t have a huge problem with the regulations that have been proposed by the UK government.
More spenders than savers
Bitcoin users are notorious savers, although many people outside of the community like to refer to this activity as hoarding. The contingent of the bitcoin community that plans on holding bitcoin over the long term was definitely represented in the poll, as 63.9 percent of respondents reported using the digital commodity for savings. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone. The surprising bit is that 66.4 percent of respondents claimed that they use bitcoin for spending.
Respondents were allowed to select multiple options under the question, “What do you mostly use bitcoin for?” So, to be fair, many of the savers and spenders are likely the same individuals. After all, if you’re already holding some bitcoin, you may as well spend it from time to time whenever you see a merchant who has adopted the digital payment system. The spenders who are not saving could be individuals who are simply playing around with the technology.
LocalBitcoins is the exchange of choice
Another poll result that may come as a surprise to many readers is that most bitcoin users in the UK do not acquire their bitcoin through a traditional online exchange such as Bitstamp. In fact, 47 percent of users purchase their bitcoin via a broker or another user in a P2P manner. Even when listed against the likes of Coinbase and Circle, LocalBitcoins was by far the most popular option for acquiring bitcoin. Among the users who do not use traditional bitcoin exchanges, LocalBitcoins was able to garner 41.7 percent of the vote as the platform of choice. Another P2P marketplace for buying and selling bitcoin, BitBargain (18.4%), was also found to be more popular than Coinbase (11.7%) and Circle (6.8%).
UK citizens believe they’re falling behind other countries
One final note to take away from our recent survey of UK bitcoiners is that the respondents understand that user adoption has a long way to go in the United Kingdom. In fact, just under 40 percent of respondents believe that business adoption in the UK is falling behind other countries. Whether or not this belief is true is debatable. For what it’s worth, coinmap.org currently shows 322 bitcoin-accepting businesses for the United Kingdom with a large chunk of them located in a cluster around London.
To be fair, there aren’t any countries in the world where bitcoin has made a serious impact. There are some towns and cities that seem to be embracing the technology more than others, but the difference in over adoption rate between most countries seems to be negligible. There doesn’t seem to be a large amount of evidence to back up the idea that the UK is falling behind other countries in terms of bitcoin merchant adoption.
In the long run, it’s possible that the UK could improve adoption by businesses and consumers through favorable digital currency regulations. For now, 82.8 percent of the respondents in our poll agree that there are not enough places to use bitcoin with the UK.