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Bitcoin was the original cryptocurrency and by far remains the most popular digital coin to date. But as with other celebrities, Bitcoin's fame has unfortunately subjected it to its fair share of rumours.
Finder surveyed 1,000 Australians through our Consumer Sentiment Tracker to find out which Bitcoin myths and misconceptions were most widely believed. We asked respondents eight true or false questions about Bitcoin and amazingly just 2% were able to answer all questions correctly. It seems there's no shortage of Bitcoin misinformation out there, so we're here to set the record straight.
Top Bitcoin myths and misconceptions
Finder's research found the most common misconception is that Bitcoin is not taxed, with 59% falsely believing this to be true. In second place comes the myth that Elon Musk invented Bitcoin, which is believed by 56% of Australians.
|Myth||Percentage who believe it||Fact|
|"Bitcoin is not taxed"||59%||Cryptocurrency profits may be treated either as income or an investment for tax purposes, depending on the circumstances. We recommend you seek independent advice from an accountant.|
|"Elon Musk invented Bitcoin"||56%||Bitcoin was invented by an anonymous developer under the alias Satoshi Nakamoto.|
|"There is an unlimited number of Bitcoin to be mined"||44%||Because of the way its code is designed, Bitcoin is limited to a maximum supply of 21 million.|
|"Bitcoin has been around for more than 15 years"||44%||Bitcoin came into existence in 2009.|
|"There are less than 100 different cryptocurrencies"||39%||There are more than 4,000 cryptocurrencies in circulation and the number is growing.|
|"1 Bitcoin is worth more than AUD$100,000"||31%||As of May 2021 the price of 1 Bitcoin has moved between AUD$60,000 and AUD$83,000, but hasn't yet broken the AUD$100K barrier.|
|"You can't use Bitcoin to buy things"||31%||There are thousands of businesses across Australia that accept Bitcoin as a form of payment.|
|"Bitcoin is a physical currency"||22%||Unlike traditional currencies, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are built on a blockchain platform, which makes them entirely digital.|
Myth: Bitcoin is not taxed
The top misconception held by respondents is that Bitcoin is not taxed, with an overwhelming 59% believing this to be the case.
Like any investment, you are required to claim any profits made from cryptocurrency as income. When you sell it, you'll need to pay capital gains tax on your earnings. It's important to be conscious of what you need to report to the ATO. Check out Finder's cryptocurrency tax guide for more details on paying tax on Bitcoin.
Baby boomers (72%) are the generation most likely to believe Bitcoin is a tax-free investment, while those in gen Z (48%) are the least. South Australia (65%) is the most likely state to believe this statement.
Myth: Elon Musk invented Bitcoin
Another commonly held myth is that Musk invented Bitcoin, with an incredible 56% of Australians believing this to be true. The myth was born online through mere speculation and despite Musk denying it the rumour has lived on.
In reality, Bitcoin was conceptualised and developed by an anonymous user under the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. Nakamoto believed money shouldn't be controlled by a centralised government or bank, so set out to develop a decentralised digital currency. While nobody knows exactly who or what Nakamoto is, there's no doubt they have changed the landscape of currency forever.
The data shows men (62%) are more likely than women (51%) to think the Tesla founder is also the pioneer of Bitcoin. Gen X (61%) is also particularly susceptible to this belief.
Myth: There is an unlimited number of Bitcoin to be mined
More than two in five Australians (44%) believe the supply of Bitcoin is unlimited.
However, like other forms of currency, Bitcoin's supply is finite. Because of the way its code is designed, Bitcoin is limited to a maximum supply of 21 million. Currently there are around 18.6 million Bitcoin in circulation, with each new block released every 10 minutes.
That might sound like we're nearing the end of Bitcoin's supply. However, because the number of Bitcoin in a block halves every four years or so, experts estimate Bitcoin will continue to be mined well into the 2100s.
Gen Z (51%) is the most likely to believe Bitcoin's supply is unlimited, compared to baby boomers (34%). Those from New South Wales (47%) and Queensland (47%) are the most likely to believe Bitcoin's supply is inexhaustible.
Myth: Bitcoin has been around for more than 15 years
Another Bitcoin misconception held by Australians is how long it has been in existence, with 44% believing it has been around for more than 15 years.
Bitcoin was actually first released in 2009, around 12 years ago. At the time it was worth virtually nothing, and most of the world took no notice in the digital coin until years later. Needless to say, if you had the foresight back then to invest in Bitcoin you would be doing very well today.
Men (48%) are more likely than women (40%) to think Bitcoin is more than 15 years old, while gen X (48%) and millennials (47%) are the most likely generations to believe this myth.
Myth: There are less than 100 different cryptocurrencies
Nearly 2 in 5 Australians (39%) believe there are less than 100 cryptocurrencies in existence.
In reality more than 4,000 cryptocurrencies are in circulation, and the number is growing. Apart from Bitcoin, some of the most popular cryptocurrencies include Litecoin, Ethereum and Ripple. Most recently, Dogecoin surged in popularity as the first meme-based cryptocurrency.
Baby boomers (52%) are the most likely to believe there are less than 100 cryptocurrencies in existence, while those in gen Z (27%) are the least likely.
Myth: 1 Bitcoin is worth more than AUD$100,000
Nearly a third of Australians (31%) say they think 1 Bitcoin is worth more than AUD$100,000.
Bitcoin entered the market priced at less than US$0.01 and by 2017 it had entered the mainstream. Since then it's fair to say the market has exploded.
As of May 2021, the price of 1 Bitcoin has fluctuated between AUD$60,000 and AUD$80,000, but remains comfortably below the AUD$100,000 mark. If Bitcoin continues to grow at its historical growth trajectory, Forbes predicts we may well see its price exceed AUD$100,000 in 2021.
Men (37%) are more likely than women (25%) to believe Bitcoin is worth more than AUD$100,000. Millennials (39%) are the most likely to believe this misconception.
Myth: You can't use Bitcoin to buy things
Another myth about Bitcoin is that its value is not practical. Close to a third of Australians (31%) believe Bitcoin can't be used to buy anything.
The truth is there are thousands of businesses across Australia that accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. There are Bitcoin ATMs and debit cards that make it easy to convert your Bitcoin to cash and spend them like any other currency. Online retailers such as Microsoft also are starting to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment, while platforms such as Living Room of Satoshi even allow you to use Bitcoin to pay household bills.
Baby boomers (34%) and South Australians (33%) are the most likely to believe the misconception that Bitcoin can't be used to purchase things.
Myth: Bitcoin is a physical currency
One in five Australians (22%) falsely believe Bitcoin is a physical currency.
Unlike traditional currencies, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are built on a blockchain platform, which makes them entirely digital. They are also decentralised, which means they are not controlled by a government or central authority.
Some investors believe that owning cryptocurrency can diversify your investment portfolio because it exists outside typical investment markets, where the stock market, foreign exchange market and commodities are closely interconnected.
Surprisingly, millennials (31%) are the most likely to believe Bitcoin is a physical currency, followed by gen Z (25%).
Tips for Bitcoin beginners
Don't jump in blind. Investing in cryptocurrency is different to investing in traditional stocks, so it's important to do your research before investing. You don't need to know all the technical ins and outs, but it's important you understand how to trade securely and how it differs from traditional stock trading. If you're new to Bitcoin but eager to get into the market, check out Finder's guide to Bitcoin for beginners.
Keep your Bitcoin safely stored in a wallet, which is a digital platform that stores your private keys for transactions. While there is no shortage of Bitcoin wallets, it's important to choose one with a simple interface, security features and private key control.
Find a competitive exchange platform. Make sure to find a cryptocurrency exchange that suits your needs. If you're a beginner for example, try to find an exchange with a simple and user-friendly interface like the Finder app. When comparing options you should also look at exchange rates, fees, payment methods and the selection of cryptocurrencies available.
Australians can now buy and sell Bitcoin directly through the Finder app, making it an easy and intuitive way for beginners to invest in cryptocurrency.
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