Bitcoin has been around for a little over a decade, while its biggest competitors ethereum, litecoin, and Ripple’s XRP have been knocking around for between seven and four years—but all save bitcoin are already being eclipsed by Facebook’s yet-to-launch libra cryptocurrency.
The bitcoin price has surged over recent months as interest surrounding social media giant Facebook’s planned libra project reached fever-pitch but has swung wildly as global regulators poured cold water on Facebook’s ambitions.
Now, a new survey has found there is “substantial” public interest in Facebook’s potential bitcoin rival, despite a lack of trust in the company, with people already more familiar with it than ethereum, litecoin and Ripple’s XRP.
Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg might have his work cut out to convince U.S. and global regulators of libra’s potential, but the general public might already be on board.
Bitcoin and Facebook’s libra were given an awareness boost by U.S. president Donald Trump last week when he tweeted his opposition to both technologies but he may have inadvertently introduced the idea of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies to a whole new audience.
New research, carried out by U.S. brokerage eToro, has found that while 58% of the U.S. adults have heard of bitcoin, the first and largest cryptocurrency, Facebook’s libra is already known by 16% of people—just a month after it was unveiled.
Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency, has achieved only 12% recognition since it went live in July 2015 and it can be assumed that smaller cryptocurrencies litecoin and Ripple’s XRP are still less well known.
“We believe that crypto and the blockchain technology that underpins it will be essential to tomorrow’s economy,” said Guy Hirsch, U.S. managing director of eToro. “By introducing the concept to a new audience, libra could play a vital role in the evolution of decentralized and more democratized finance.”
The bitcoin price has been climbing so far this year, largely due to interest in cryptocurrencies from Facebook and the world’s biggest tech companies.
Meanwhile, the survey suggests that people may not be willing to trust Facebook to correctly manage payments, perhaps due to its on-going data-sharing scandal.
A little over half (54%) of respondents, out of some 600, expressed doubts over Facebook’s management of their personal data but only 17% indicated they would be willing to trust Facebook with their money the same way they trust their banks.