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Of Two Minds, Multiple Addresses, and One History: Characterizing Opinions, Knowledge, and Perceptions of Bitcoin Across Groups

21 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2015  

Xianyi Gao

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick/Piscataway

Gradeigh D. Clark

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Janne Lindqvist

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick/Piscataway

Date Written: March 9, 2015

Abstract

Digital currencies represent a new method for exchange and investment that differs strongly from any other fiat money seen throughout history. A digital currency makes it possible to perform all financial transactions without the intervention of a third party to act as an arbiter of verification; payments can be made between two people with degrees of anonymity, across continents, at any denomination, and without any transaction fees going to a central authority. The most successful example of this is Bitcoin, introduced in 2008, which has experienced a recent boom of popularity, media attention, and investment. With this surge of attention, we became interested in finding out how people both inside and outside the Bitcoin community perceive Bitcoin -- what do they think of it, how do they feel, and how knowledgeable they are. Towards this end, we conducted the first interview study (N=20) with participants to discuss Bitcoin and other related financial topics. Some of our major findings include: not understanding how Bitcoin works is not a barrier for entry, although non-user participants claim it would be for them and that user participants are in a state of cognitive dissonance concerning the role of governments in the system. Our findings, overall, contribute to knowledge concerning Bitcoin and attitudes towards digital currencies in general.

Keywords: Bitcoin, User Study, Interview, Digital Currency, HCI

JEL Classification: E42, P40

Suggested Citation

Gao, Xianyi and Clark, Gradeigh D. and Lindqvist, Janne, Of Two Minds, Multiple Addresses, and One History: Characterizing Opinions, Knowledge, and Perceptions of Bitcoin Across Groups (March 9, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2575796 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2575796

Xianyi Gao (Contact Author)

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick/Piscataway ( email )

94 Rockafeller Road
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
United States

Gradeigh D. Clark

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey ( email )

311 North 5th Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08854
United States

Janne Lindqvist

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick/Piscataway ( email )

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