Bank of England Poll Shows People Want Digital Currency More Than Cash
12.21.2018

The Bank of England, aka the UK’s central bank, aka “the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street,” posted a Twitter poll earlier this week asking people how they would like to receive money this Christmas. The vast majority preferred “digital currency.”

The poll opened on December 17 and still has two more days left for voting, so the results could change. But as of writing, 72 percent of the more than 9,700 people who responded voted for digital currency. Cash has so far come in second, with just 20 percent of the vote, while bank transfers and gift vouchers lag behind, with six and two percent of the vote, respectively.

“Digital currency” doesn’t necessarily indicate cryptocurrency. Digital currencies can just be unregulated virtual currencies that are fully controlled by their creators—like the V-bucks used in Fortnite. There’s also central bank digital currency (CBDC), or digital fiat currency, which is more of an idea that an actual way to get money this holiday season. CBDC is like fiat currency in terms of government regulation, except central banks can issue it instead of the government. Some, like crypto-naysayer Nouriel Roubini, believe that if implemented, CDBC could be the end of cryptocurrencies. (The latest from the Bank of England is that it has no plans to create a CDBC.)

The responses to this Twitter post, however, were exuberantly pro-cryptocurrency. Some chided the “Old Lady” for beating around the bush by using the term “digital currency” instead of cryptocurrency.

An overwhelming majority of people who responded to the thread promoted XRP, to the point where pro-bitcoin posters figured they must be bots. (However, the XRP community is extraordinarily engaged on Twitter.)

Regardless of which cryptocurrencies poll respondents preferred, the enthusiasm for the overall concept is strong. Then again, Twitter statistics must always be taken with a grain of salt. Lots of cryptocurrency advocates follow central banks as their moves are relevant to the future of digital currency.

The Old Lady posted this poll to drum up interest in its upcoming Future Forum, where attendees will discuss topics like “how people in the UK use their money,” “what payments they make and where,” “the Bank’s important role in payments,” and “the changing face of banking.” Perhaps this Twitter poll is more a reflection of this “changing face” than the Old Lady realized.