Despite Bitcoin and Ethereum continuing to rise in popularity, as well as the possibility for the Australian Government to introduce its own digital currency, the majority of Australians surprisingly know very little about cryptocurrencies.

A recently published survey showed that only one in 10 Australians believe that they understand what cryptocurrency is. When looking at the figures for Australians aged over 65 the percentage of this group was even lower than 1 in 10.

As well as age playing a huge role in the knowledge of cryptocurrency, gender also plays a massive role. 21 percent of Australian men believe that they know what cryptocurrencies are and how they work, in comparison, only seven per cent of women said that they understand cryptocurrencies.

There are over 10,000 different cryptocurrencies in the world today. In this survey, Bitcoin was predictably the most well-known of all the cryptocurrencies with 38 per cent of Australians surveyed recognising the name which is synonymous with digital currencies.

The other most commonly recognised cryptocurrencies included Ethereum at 12 percent and Dogecoin at 8 percent.

Despite the growing popularity of non-fungible tokens which are commonly known as NFTs, the survey found that 75 percent of Australians have still never heard of them.

NFTs are one of the most popular commodities to come out of the blockchain industry in 2021.

They include digital art, GIFs and even tweets, which have been thrust into the spotlight in what many are calling a digital art boom.

In early 2021 a JPG file sold for more than $88 million.

NFT can be best described as a digital token encrypted with the artist’s signature on the blockchain a digital ledger that is the backbone of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum allowing sellers and buyers to verify authenticity and ownership.

NFTs ensure a buyer has the true original directly from the artist.

They also allow artists to sell works directly to buyers on their own, which some have asserted will democratise the art market.

In early December, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg revealed that over 800,000 Australians have owned cryptocurrency at least once.

Mr. Frydenberg, furthermore went onto add that the Commonwealth and Reserve Bank are in planning to launch a central cryptocurrency currency.

42 percent of Australians said that they would use cryptocurrency if it was made a legal tender tomorrow. However, only one in four respondents agreed that cryptos should be declared legal by the government.

If cryptocurrency was placed in legal circulation, one in three Aussies said they would use it by putting it in their savings or a retirement plan.

Foreshadowing a regulatory framework was now needed for cryptocurrencies and its associated industries, Mr Frydenberg acknowledged a “digital revolution” triggered by Bitcoin was now well underway in Australia’s financial sector.

Cryptocurrency Related Scams Are Costing Australians More Than $100 Million

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has revealed that cryptocurrency related scams have increased significantly during the covid-19 pandemic. Recently released figures from the Australian consumer watchdog shows that there was an increase of 172 percent in losses between January and November 2021. This added up to a total of $109 million.

“Criminals are really quick to exploit a crisis. We’re also seeing more and more people working from home which presents greater opportunities for criminals to target people,” said Australian Federal Police Cybercrime Commander Chris Goldsmid.

The crypto related scams are run by global syndicates, thus making the money trail murkier than ever and almost impossible to trace. 

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) believes that the losses to cryptocurrency-related scams were most likely to be much higher than the $109 million it has recorded so far this year. One of the reasons why it is predicted to be much higher is because according to the ACCC many victims are too distressed or embarrassed to report their experiences.

The AFP says that for many Australians victims are usually lured in by advertisements on social media, filling out their details and unwittingly becoming an easy target.