Applied Bitcoin Psychology: an Interview with the Adoption Researcher

Interview
07.01.2016

Sanne Kiljan, 23, a Dutch psychology student and an active bitcoiner holds a research project on broad acceptance of bitcoin in order to graduate as a bachelor of psychology at his university in Eindhoven, Netherlands. According to the press-release to the project, it seeks to investigate – using a quantitative methodology – various factors influencing the current use and adoption of Bitcoin.

“I have been an active bitcoiner since 2012, introduced to it by a friend. I can say I use bitcoin for ideological motives, in contrary to most early adaptors I’m not coming from a technological field of work. Currently I’m studying psychology at my university in Eindhoven, I have special interest in economical psychology and research,” Kiljan said.

The findings of the research are subject to publication on the Bitcoin Embassy’s site “for the benefit of all”.

“This survey is based on existing theoretical models like the “technology acceptance model” and the “unified theory of acceptance and use of technology”. It’s the first time that these scientific models through the survey will be applied to bitcoin. The factors investigated include for example the risk perception of the public towards bitcoin and their opinion about the ease of use. Also their knowledge about bitcoin and the perceived usefulness will be topics in the questionnaire,” the press release reads.

The project itself seems interesting and even necessary amid the current ambiguous conditions for cryptocurrency.

We contacted Sanne to ask him a few questions about the purposes of the research, its current progress, and some details available so far.

FL: Could you explain our readers what this research is about? What do you expect to find out? What is its ultimate goal?
SK: This research is looking into the psychological factors which influence the adoption rate of bitcoin. This research focuses on the determinants like perceived risk, performance expectancy, effort expectancy, and social influence. I expect to find out a big difference especially in the effort expectancy. This determinant is about the degree of ease associated with the bitcoin system. According to the literature, this determinant has the biggest influence on other determinants. So if a respondent scores positive on the scale of effort expectancy, the chances are high that he will also score positive on others determinants. I think it is already quite well known that bitcoin is perceived as a difficult-to-understand technology under the general populace. My research is there to back this up with data and provide the bitcoin sphere with knowledge about that gap between bitcoiners and non-bitcoiners on these four determinants.

FL: Who should participate in a survey? How many respondents do you need to get enough data? How do you plan to analyse this much information?
SK: Everybody can participate in this survey, and I encourage bitcoiners to let non-bitcoiners around them fill in this survey. Like I said in the previous answer, we want to measure the gap between bitcoiners and non-bitcoiners so data on both sides is needed. I plan to have at least 500 respondents to get valid results. Currently I have 175 respondents. I will analyse this data by using a quantitative method, thus using statistical analyses like the Mann-Whitney U test and the Spearman’s Rho test by using the programm SPSS.

FL: And what is the progress so far?
SK: I analyzed a first set of data and found out there is a big statistical difference on the determinant effort expectancy. This means that non-bitcoiners perceive the bitcoin system as far more difficult to master than bitcoiners do. This negative attitude prevents them from adopting the technology. I will publish an elaborated article about my first findings on (https://bitcoinembassy.nl/) in English somewhere this week.

FL: When you finish and publish the results, who will take benefit of it? How will it be useful to public? Could you provide some examples?
SK: I hope my results will be a reason for deeper research into the subject. Note that my research will be pretty basic since it is the first in this field. Also the bitcoin system currently consists of many small companies who have no budget for research and marketing. This will provide them with a free data set and information about their potential customers without hiring a marketeer to do it for them. Also this research will split the data in different subjects, this means that for example an Israeli company can set the dataset on Isreali respondents only to provide them with more accurate results.

FL: When should we await the results and where do you plan to publish your research?
SK: I expect to finish this research somewhere in march when I will publish all results on the website of the Bitcoin Embassy Amsterdam (https://bitcoinembassy.nl/).

The researcher and the Embassy call everyone to participate in the survey, and to distribute information in its regard. The survey is available at https://survey.bitcoinembassy.nl/index.php/249388 and includes 44 questions.

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