Results of our Bitcoin Survey

We have the results to our recent bitcoin/crypto currency survey, done in conjunction with Triad Securities Corp. Thanks to all who participated, and we will be emailing the lucky prizewinners on Monday.

A few words on the general characteristics of our respondents:

  • Most (60%) are money managers or RIAs/Wealth Advisors
  • 51% are over 45 years old, and 79% are over 35 years old
  • Less than 5% work in the crypto currency industry
  • We had 317 responses in total, spanning the week ending November 13th

Here is a summary of the results and our comments:

Question: Where will bitcoin close the year (2017)?

  • Average response: $7,381
  • Median response: $7,800
  • Standard Deviation of Responses: $2,555

Our comments: As expected, we had a wide range of responses here. Overall, the wisdom of this particular crowd says bitcoin may be range-bound through the end of the year. Still, with a standard deviation of $2,500, it could top $10,000 or drop close to $5,000 and still be within one sigma of the distribution.

Question: Where is bitcoin going?

  • This is a bubble – it must crash: 39.4%
  • Continue to rise at a much slower pace: 27.1%
  • Value doubles in the next 6 months or sooner: 16.4%
  • Don’t know/no opinion: 17.0%

Our comments: we were surprised the bubble response was less than 40% given widespread commentary in that direction and the age/experience of the respondents. By age, at least, our survey takers has seen their fair share of bubbles. We were ready to see +70% responses indicate bitcoin’s price is unsustainable. Less than 40% is, well, remarkable.

“Have you ever bought bitcoin or other crypto currencies?”

  • Yes, but only in the last 6 months: 14.5%
  • Yes, and I have been involved for +6 months: 16.7%
  • No, never: 30.9%
  • No, but I have considered it: 36.3%
  • No, and I am unfamiliar with bitcoin/cryptos: 1.6%

Our comments: there are still plenty of fence sitters here, with those who have considered purchasing (36%) outnumbering those that have bought (31%). The big question is if they are waiting for a pullback, or further gains?

“Would you ever see bitcoin as a safe haven similar to gold?”

  • Yes: 40.7%
  • No: 42.9%
  • Don’t know, no opinion: 16.4%

Our comments: this may be the most surprising finding of the survey. Even with widely reported wallet hacks and other systematic challenges, 41% of respondents think bitcoin can become something akin to gold as an investment safe haven.

Do you see bitcoin as a hedge against monetary policy?

  • Yes: 39.1%
  • No: 43.2%
  • Don’t know/no opinion: 17.7%

Our comments: almost as surprising as the gold question, these responses show a sizeable minority believe bitcoin’s algorithm-driven limited supply can act as a non-correlated buffer against central bank policy.

Have you ever participated in an Initial Coin Offering or looked at such opportunities?

  • Yes, and I have invested: 7.9%
  • No, but I have considered investing: 29.0%
  • No, and I won’t without more regulation: 14.8%
  • No, and I have not looked at these offerings: 48.3%

Our comments: over a third of respondents have looked at or invested in ICOs. Not bad for a fund raising approach that is just a few years old. And over half might consider ICOs if/when the regulatory framework improves.

If you look at ICOs, how do you assess these opportunities?

  • The three most popular answers, in order: Founders/Key Employees, Total Addressable Market, and Sector Addressed
  • Less popular: Token type, Deal Pricing and Time to Market

Our comments: no surprise here, with ICO investors looking at exactly the same issues as venture capitalists.

What is your level of confidence in current bitcoin custodial offerings?

  • High: 9.1%
  • Medium: 29.7%
  • Low: 25.9%
  • Don’t know/no opinion: 30.0%
  • I prefer traditional custodians: 5.4%

Our comments: this is a critical issue for institutional investors. In order for crypto currencies to achieve true “Asset class” status, investor confidence in custodial solutions has to improve.

What is your level of confidence in crypto asset liquidity?

  • High: 7.9%
  • Medium: 39.7%
  • Low: 31.2%
  • Don’t know/no opinion: 21.1%

Our comments: same thoughts here as the previous point. While respondents may feel marginally better about crypto liquidity, over half rate their confidence here as low or they just don’t know enough to judge. 

Our final thoughts on the data presented:

  • Institutional investors are taking bitcoin/cryptos seriously. If you’ve ever run an in-depth survey, you know getting 300 responses is difficult. The fact that we got even more shows there is tremendous interest in bitcoin and crypto currencies.
  • Initial Coin Offerings are getting real attention as well. Investors already understand the due diligence process here – it is the same as venture-stage investing. Custody and liquidity across the crypto space do need to improve, however.
  • A sizable minority of respondents (39 – 40%) see bitcoin as a potential analog to physical gold, both as a safe haven and a hedge against mistakes in central bank monetary policy. Until blockchain technology becomes more widespread, that is probably the best way to consider buyers’ motivation for bitcoin.

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