Over half of users treat Bitcoin as both a currency and an investment, according to a recent survey by American-based Bitcoin news site NewsBTC.com. The poll, completed by self-selecting site readers over the course of one week and published on the site Sunday, found that 57.4% of 155 respondents diversify their use of Bitcoin as both a payment method and a way to earn money.
Among respondents who identified a single use of Bitcoin, investment was more popular, with 27% of participants investing money in the cryptocurrency. Only 15% of respondents said they use Bitcoin strictly for payment.
NewsBTC administrator Eric Calouro called the survey results unsurprising. “While many in the community enjoy using bitcoin as a means to make payment, that’s not to say they can’t enjoy the benefits of using it as an investment vehicle,” he said.
Heightened interest in Bitcoin investment over payment (among those who choose not to double-dip its uses) is logical at this stage, given the currency’s history.
Early holders have made overall massive returns on their investment in Bitcoin, which has grown in value from around 1 US cent in 2010 to peaking at over $1,100 last winter (albeit with numerous peaks and crashes over the last six months). Investors willing to take a risk on the volatility of Bitcoin’s value – as well as those faithful in its long-term stabilization and continued growth - stand a chance of making quite a bit of money by holding on to their bitcoins.
Use of Bitcoin as a currency, however, can be expected to grow as acceptance in the business community expands. Fifty thousand more merchants are taking Bitcoin this year compared to 2013, according to Forbes reporter Kashmir Hill, citing Bitcoin payment processors. She did not specify whether the figure was worldwide or included only US-based business.
Hill is currently writing a seven-part series for Forbes on paying for living expenses in San Francisco solely using Bitcoin for one week. The series is a sequel: Hill did the same experiment last year and said that by the end, she lost five pounds and had to move out of her house.
This year, the experience is a bit different. By Day 6, Hill has bought meals from food-delivery service Foodler, arranged rides on transport-sharing site Lyft, taken a tour of vineyards in Santa Cruz, and visited a strip club – all paid for in Bitcoin.