Most Americans have no idea what Bitcoin is. A survey from Bitcoin organization Coin Center using Google Consumer Surveys showed 65% of respondents call themselves "not familiar at all" with Bitcoin.
This may seem low, considering all the media attention the cryptocurrency has. But there's no incentive here to downplay how well-known it is.
"Such a profound lack of familiarity is particularly alarming," Coin Center wrote. Respondents were also divided about whether the government should "ban Bitcoin or leave it alone." 12.9% were down with banning something that probably at least some of them had never heard of, while 16.1% hoped the government would not interfere.
Surveys like this are good gut checks. Bitcoin, for all the hype, notoriety, libertarian evangelism, and ravenous finance bro interest, is still something most people don't know about, let alone would use to buy things. The first licensed U.S. Bitcoin exchange opened this week, but the people using it are still early adopters trading a fringe currency in a volatile youth. We still don't know the infant mortality rate for cryptocurrencies.
Somewhere, Winkelvii weep.