The bitcoin price has ticked up again recently on hopes a U.S. exchange-traded bitcoin fund and interest from institutional investors will mean a fresh wave of investment into cryptocurrencies.
Now, a survey from pollsters Gallup and commissioned by banking giant Wells Fargo has revealed just how few people in the U.S. have put their money into bitcoin and cryptocurrencies — highlighting how much the price could rise if bitcoin goes mainstream and attracts millions of casual investors.
According to the survey of almost 2,000 people, just 2% of investors say they currently own bitcoin, and less than 1% plan to buy it in the near future. While most investors say they have no interest in ever buying bitcoin, about one in four (26%) say they are intrigued by it but won't be buying it anytime soon.
"The price of bitcoin is back on an upswing after crashing earlier this year, causing some to say its bubble is again about to burst and others to argue that its value will only accelerate as more merchants inevitably adopt it," Gallup wrote.
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"For now, most investors are on the sidelines, knowing little to nothing about bitcoin. Few are already invested in it, and even fewer plan to jump in soon," the pollsters added. "Looking to the future, however, many younger investors who currently say they are intrigued may be converted to investors once the currency goes more mainstream."
Bitcoin exchange volume has dipped this year after a massive surge throughout 2017. The price of a single bitcoin is now hovering just above the $8,000 mark, up from around $2,000 this time last year.
The pollsters found bitcoin has yet to make significant inroads into any major subgroup of U.S. investors. Just 3% of men, 1% of women, 3% of those aged 18 to 49 and 1% of those aged 50 and older report owning it.
While ownership is more common among wealthier investors, just 3% of those earning $90,000 or more report owning bitcoin, compared with less than 1% of lower-income investors.
Meanwhile, a study out earlier this year found some 8% — around 26 million people in the U.S. — have purchased cryptocurrency.
Those polled by Gallup were U.S. adults with $10,000 or more invested in stocks, bonds or mutual funds, either within or outside a retirement savings account.