The Bank of Canada continues to use the Bitcoin Omnibus Survey (BTCOS) to monitor trends in Canadians’ awareness, ownership and use of Bitcoin. The most recent iteration was conducted in late 2018, following an 85 percent decline in the price of Bitcoin throughout the year. In 2017, almost half of Bitcoin adopters reported investing as their primary reason for owning it. This implies that the dramatic price drop could have affected whether Canadians continue to own Bitcoin and, if they do, what they use it for.

The BTCOS has been conducted each year since 2016 with slight changes and improvements in every iteration. For 2018, we added questions on Canadians’ financial literacy, their plans to stop using cash and their preferences over features of online transactions. We also improved our way of calibrating sample estimates to represent the overall Canadian population with respect to demographic composition.

The survey shows that from 2016 to 2018, both the share of Canadians who are aware of Bitcoin and who own bitcoin increased. But the share of past owners also increased, suggesting an influx of Bitcoin owners who sold their holdings after 2017. The main reason for owning Bitcoin continued to be for store of value or investment purposes, though this decreased slightly from 2017. Finally, Bitcoin owners differed from the overall population in two ways: they were less financially literate and more likely to say they plan to stop using cash.