ICES Experimental Economics Brown Bag Lecture

Survey on Trust and Use of Cryptocurrencies

Thursday, October 27, 2022 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EDT
Vernon Smith Hall (formerly Metropolitan Building), Room 5075

The Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science (ICES) presents an ICES Brown Bag Lecture featuring:

Sarah Sylvester

George Mason University

Survey on Trust and Use of Cryptocurrencies





Cryptocurrencies saw a rise in popularity in 2018, and have since experienced severe price fluctuations, government regulations, and innovative trading mechanisms. Despite this, there has been a lack of economic analysis concerning the willingness of non-owners to adopt cryptocurrencies and the reasons behind non-ownership. To answer some of these questions, we provide a survey experiment that evaluates individuals’ familiarity with the blockchain ecosystem as well as their typical use of cryptocurrencies. Since it is generally understood that a barrier to adopting new technology is having some knowledge of it and how it works, we provide varying knowledge-based messages about cryptocurrencies in different treatments, to determine what message content or source influences individuals’ willingness to adopt cryptocurrencies. We also target individuals’ preferences for dollars over cryptocurrencies by asking them to make a series of choices between 10 USD and increasing amounts of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Since individuals are aware they could be randomly selected to receive one of their choices as a bonus payment, we extract their specific switching point where they are no longer willing to sacrifice additional money simply to have it in dollars. Our pilot study of 38 individuals demonstrates that receiving some information on cryptocurrencies may have a slight effect on individuals’ willingness to own cryptocurrencies. Additionally, we find that all owners of cryptocurrencies know at least one other individual that also owns cryptocurrencies, suggesting a close-knit environment of individuals. This is an introductory step in understanding the motivation of cryptocurrency ownership.


For more information about the Brown Bag Lectures, please visit the Brown Bag Schedule homepage.

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