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Bank of Canada Estimates 5% of Canadians Own Bitcoin

Last Updated March 4, 2021 3:03 PM
David Hundeyin
Last Updated March 4, 2021 3:03 PM

Data from the Bank of Canada and the Ontario Securities Commission has revealed that bitcoin adoption and general crypto awareness in Canada is growing steadily, with the percentage of Canadian poll respondents who own bitcoin rising from 2.9 percent in 2016 to 5 percent in 2017.

According to a recently released report  by the Bank of Canada titled “Bitcoin Awareness and Usage in
Canada: An Update,” Canadians between the ages of 45 and 54 were the group that reported the largest growth in bitcoin ownership over the period, multiplying nearly four times from 0.9 percent in 2016 to 3.5 percent in 2017. Similarly, an OSC report  shows that about 1 in 10 Ontarians either currently hold or used to hold cryptoassets.

Data Breakdown

The Bank of Canada report shows that the gender gap for bitcoin ownership widened considerably over the period in question, with female bitcoin owners in Canada remaining at 2 percent of the population, while the male bitcoin ownership figure nearly doubled, jumping from 4.2 percent to 8.1 percent. Significantly, ownership did not only grow in heavily populated provinces with urban centres like Ontario and British Columbia but grew across all provinces including Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. It also showed that the number of holders of small bitcoin amounts has increased by a wider margin than that of people holding more than 10 BTC.

bank of canada bitcoin
Source: Bank of Canada

The OSC’s data  estimates the total number of Ontario residents holding cryptoassets at 500,000 by extrapolating the sample respondents to the population of the entire province. Of these, 63 percent say they own bitcoin, followed by 35 percent for ether, 18 percent for litecoin, 17 percent for bitcoin cash, and 13 percent for ripple (XRP). Very significantly, the report was able to ascertain from respondents when they first purchased their crypto holdings, which revealed that, unsurprisingly, a large percentage purchased their first coins in late 2017 or early 2018.

According to the survey, which was conducted in March 2018, 35 percent of crypto holders reported having made their first purchase of cryptocurrency within the previous three months, and a further 37 percent say they first obtained crypto within the past year. Just 27 percent indicated having purchased their crypto more than a year ago, which means that 72 percent of crypto holders in Ontario have bought in over the past one year. This tells a significant story about the growth of crypto adoption in Canada’s most populated province.

As cryptocurrencies continue to grow in popularity and spread across Canada, regulators are also keeping an eye on the new opportunities and threats presented in the country, which was recently described as “more blockchain-friendly than the US.” CCN.com reported in May that Canadian and American regulators are collaborating on a joint cross-border operation targeting ICO and cryptocurrency scams called “Operation Cryptosweep.”

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