Crypto as Cash Will Take Time: ING Report

The crypto revolution will take its time coming.

According to a new international survey conducted by ING Bank, a vast majority of consumers across the world still prefer cash over cryptocurrency. Only 18% Americans and 22% Europeans wanted cashless transactions, meaning they valued the use of cash as a commodity.

ING’s report states that a hybrid cryptocurrency that mixes elements of fiat currencies (in a digital asset form) and traditional cryptocurrencies and is subject to existing regulation is the best bet to making a transition from cash to crypto.

The survey was carried towards the end of January and early February this year and sampled an average of 1,000 respondents across 15 countries for their reactions to the idea of cryptocurrencies in mainstream economies.   

Among the countries surveyed, Turkey seems to have the positive attitude towards cryptocurrencies, with 62% of respondents reporting positive sentiments towards digital assets. The country’s Ministry of Industry and Technology recently released a Strategy 2023 document that listed blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) among its priorities. Turkey has also released an economic roadmap describing a central bank-backed digital currency (CBDC).   

Europe’s Benelux countries – Belgium, Luxembourg, and Netherlands – and Austria were least enthusiastic about the inclusion of a cryptocurrency in their economies. “While there are many reasons for this – culture and familiarity being two – it does raise the question of whether combining crypto and mainstream banking services would fly,” the report states.

Possibly as a reflection of their citizen’s will, Europe’s governing authorities have been averse to the idea of Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency and blockchain – Libra and have claimed that the coin threatens the “monetary sovereignty” of their country.

But Facebook itself might have to wait for Libra to take off. Sixty-six percent of the survey’s respondents in Europe, 76% in Australia, and 64% in America were averse to sending money using social media.

“Libra will be one of the first major tests in the field for social media companies. One key question pertains the regulatory environment and how this would evolve both from a domestic and a cross-border perspective,” stated Teunis Brosens, Lead Economist for Digital Finance and Regulation, ING.

Meanwhile, the future looks increasingly hybrid. “The future of currency storage and transaction could therefore be one of increased diversification (between cash and crypto), the choice depending on use,” the report states.