LocalBitcoins is the largest and pioneering peer-to-peer Bitcoin marketplace, which gives us privileged access to first-hand insight on what’s happening in the Bitcoin communities in many different parts of the world. In this article, we’re sharing what we have learned about how people see and use Bitcoin in some of the countries where we are present.
The data used in this article come from surveys conducted between August and September of 2020 with LocalBitcoins users from Lebanon, Belarus, Turkey, and the Philippines.
The strength of Bitcoin
A common reason for acquiring Bitcoin around the world is to hodl, i.e. keep the coins expecting a surge in price. There is a strong belief among Bitcoiners that the price spike in 2017 was only a sample of what’s to come in the future. We asked people about their Bitcoin price prediction for 2025 and the percentages of optimistic price predictions in all countries are a good indicator of how people are feeling about the medium-term returns on Bitcoin investment.
Bitcoin > fiat
Respondents were also asked if they preferred their local fiat money or Bitcoin as a currency. The majority either preferred Bitcoin or considered it equivalent to the local currency, suggesting that Bitcoiners from those countries have identified advantages of using crypto over government-issued money.
Most trusted investment
The overall trust in Bitcoin as an investment was also reaffirmed by the participants when they ranked their preferred investment types. Most participants chose Bitcoin over more traditional investments like real estate.
What do people buy Bitcoin for?
We asked our users to tell us the reason why they acquired Bitcoin. The respondents could either select one of the main categories or choose the option Other and describe the reason in their own words.
In Belarus, Trading and Investing were the most frequent answers, followed by using Bitcoin for payments and Learning about Bitcoin. In Lebanon, Trading and Investing were again the most mentioned options but Lebanese participants also brought up protection against money devaluation and using Bitcoin as an alternative to banks for saving money. The other countries followed a similar trend, reinforcing the importance of Investing and Trading, however, Turkish participants selected Bitcoin for payments significantly as well and users from the Philippines chose Learning about Bitcoin the most.
Activity in the Bitcoin market
To have a notion of how active people from the different countries were in the Bitcoin markets, we also asked how many times they had already purchased Bitcoin. The profiles varied greatly, suggesting that some countries have more people who are new to Bitcoin, while experienced Bitcoiners are the majority in others.