Just one in five Americans believe cryptocurrency has a negative impact on the environment

Christien PhebyContent Manager
March 03, 2021, 4:15 PM UTC

New YouGov polling reveals that more of the US public has a negative opinion of cryptocurrency than not – but this may not necessarily be influenced by environmental concerns  

Data from YouGov Direct reveals that three in in ten Americans (29%) have a poor opinion of cryptocurrencies compared to a quarter (26%) who see them in a positive light. Just under two in five say their overall view is neither positive nor negative (37%). 

Recent analysis from the University of Cambridge indicated that Bitcoin mining - a process that increases the supply of the currency by solving complex mathematical problems with computers - consumes more electricity per year than the whole of Argentina.  

But while pessimists slightly outnumber optimists among the US public, those who have soured on Bitcoin, Ethereum and other crypto-assets aren't may not be solely motivated by protecting the environment. In fact, many members of the public aren't aware of any potential ecological impact at all.  

When asked whether they think cryptocurrencies are good or bad for the environment, just one in five Americans (20%) believe they have a negative impact, while a quarter (25%) believe they have no impact at all. Another quarter say that they have a positive influence on the environment (26%) - a perception that may be partially driven by headlines about cryptocurrencies using renewable energy - while three in ten say they simply do not know what impact they have (29%). Environmental campaigners who want to tackle Bitcoin, then, have an uphill battle ahead of them: most of the US public either actively resist the idea that it's bad for the ecosystem, or they aren't aware of its potential effects at all.  

As for what actually does drive negative sentiment towards cryptocurrencies among the three in ten Americans who have a poor opinion of them (29%), there are a range of possible reasons. Among other things, these assets have attracted unflattering headlines about their general volatility, their use in money laundering and other criminal activities, and various security issues. This may have led to a more widespread suspicion. Data from YouGov Profiles indicates that over half of Americans think cryptocurrencies are simply not to be trusted (54%) and two-thirds say they do not understand them (67%).  

Regardless of any negative sentiment among the US public, Bitcoin hit an all-time high price of $58,640.77 in February 2021.  

Methodology

YouGov polled 1,200 US adults. The survey was conducted on February 16, 2021 between 7:40 p.m. and 10:08 p.m. Eastern time. The survey was carried out through YouGov Direct. Data is weighted on age, gender, education level, political affiliation and ethnicity to be nationally representative of registered voters in the United States. The margin of error is approximately 3.8% for the overall sample.  

Survey conducted with YouGov Direct: a self-service platform that delivers quick-turnaround research and advertising for US businesses. Find out more