What do you think Cardano is? Is it a type of cheese, wine or ship?
If you have no idea, you’re not alone.
The next largest category (3.6%) believed it was a cheese, and 3.4% thought it was a type of alcohol.
Only a paltry 2.8% in the study accurately associated it with…cryptocurrency.
Meanwhile, about a quarter (22.4%) of people surveyed had no idea what cryptocurrency was, and only about 1 in 20 believed it was a safe investment, even though cryptocurrency generates hundreds of thousands of search queries a year,according to the online site Traders of Crypto.
So, what is cryptocurrency?
Crytpocurrency is a type of virtual asset, and every transaction using cryptocurrency is kept on a public ledger that anyone can see. Each entry of the ledger is built on technology called blockchain, which uses algorithms to stitch blocks of crypto transactions in irreversible order.
Think of the blockchain like putting pages of a book together. If you switch the pages, it wouldn’t make sense at all. Similarly, if you switch the blocks of the blockchain and try to falsify transactions, people could immediately tell.
This universal ledger is what makes blockchain so powerful and why it is the foundation of cryptocurrency.
It’s globalized, decentralized, transparent platform for financial transactions, and it has created an industry worth billions of dollars.
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While public knowledge of cryptocurrency remains low, Bitcoin is recognizable to many people in the population, with almost half (43.4%) recognizing it as a type of currency and only 13.3% saying they have no idea what it is.
Because of Bitcoin’s popularity, people often conflate it with Dogecoin, Ethereum and Binance Coin, which are all other kinds of cryptocurrencies.
Translation: It’s like associating money with the American dollar, even if someone is actually referring to the British pound or Japanese yen.
The study found that 3.6% of people thought Ethereum was the same thing as Bitcoin, while similar proportions of people believed it was a type of gas, drug or metal.
The world’s first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin initially circulated in the cryptography community in 2008 and was given life in 2009 with 30,000 lines of code. Since then, it has skyrocketed in value and is even used as the national currency in places like El Salvador.
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Trevor Lawrence, the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, partnered with a global cryptocurrency investment app called Blockfolio and had his signing bonus placed into an account with the company.
However, public faith in cryptocurrency is low.
Three-fourths of survey respondents didn’t believe that cryptocurrency like Bitcoin would ever become legal tender.
Michelle Shen is a Money & Tech Digital Reporter for USA TODAY. You can reach her @michelle_shen10 on Twitter.