The price is at new highs for 2015, transactions and trading volume are at record levels for bitcoin but what the psychological driving force has been behind this new found adoption is a fascinating question no one has the answers too. Well that’s all about the change thanks to a global bitcoin adoption survey project being carried out by the Bitcoin Embassy in Amsterdam.
The driving force behind this is Sanne Kiljan a 23 year old bitcoin enthusiast from the south of Holland, my favourite country after Ireland of course. He is undertaking this research project as his thesis as part of his graduation for his Bachelor of Psychology degree at the University of Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
On top of his degree Mr. Kiljan also runs a business called Yooth with two other partners which is focused on using psychological methods and theory to maximize team potential in start-up and scale-up companies.
Sanne isn’t a newcomer to the bitcoin world having first come across it in 2011, dismissing it, then studying it very seriously, buying his first bitcoins and becoming involved from 2012 by having work experience at one of the leading bitcoin companies in the Netherlands, Bitonic.
It was during this time that he discovered how little is really known about potential customers, their attitude and beliefs towards and about bitcoin and has led him on a quest to find out what really goes on inside the heads of current and potential future users of the digital currency.
Anyone who has been around for the last few years knows that when there are price rises, falls, high transaction volume etc. there are numerous news reports circulating and everyone you talk to has a different explanation as to the reasons why.
Truthfully these are all really only guesses as the technology is still very young and hasn’t had any real market research done yet.
Sanne says he now wants to measure this and present the information to bitcoin companies around the globe;
“This way we can measure the sentiment and see which strategy their marketing departments can use to influence the adoption rate in a positive way and make bitcoin really happen! For example if one of the conclusions of this research is that the public thinks bitcoin is too difficult to use we know as a community that we have to focus on making our applications easier to use. The help from the bitcoin community is really important to make this research succeed.”
Bitcoin awareness is very high in the Netherlands although the actual usage is relatively low in comparison. Sanne suspects the reason for this is the “perceived ease of use” of the digital currency.
“I think bitcoin is still a too difficult and abstract concept for anybody who is not tech savvy, especially because people have to put some money in the technology to use it, which puts a big risk factor in it. Look for example at the internet, I do not think an average Joe can explain to me how the internet works. He just knows that he has to click on a pictogram and then a browser pops-up and he can look at pictures of other people's life at Facebook. The level of comfort probably has to lay higher with bitcoin because of the risk of losing money however.”
Mr. Kiljan is undertaking a missing link in the industry which I believe the findings of will be beneficial to all involved, and I encourage everyone to take part in it here.
This survey project just isn’t bitcoin users but non-users as well and if successful will be carried out annually, Sanne says;
“This research aims to question both groups, bitcoin users and non-bitcoin users. That way we can look at the differences in perception about bitcoin from both groups and then we know in which field we have to improve to get a more positive attitude from the public towards bitcoin.”
“This research can be done every year to see the progress and closely monitor the sentiment of the public.”