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Reproduced from CivicScience; Chart: Axios Visuals

Use of and interest in cryptocurrency remains far from mainstream, but it's growing at a sizable clip. Companies like PayPal, Square and most recently Tesla are helping by launching crypto payment programs.

Driving the news: A survey from data firm CivicScience provided first to Axios shows that since the third quarter of 2019 the number of people investing in cryptocurrencies has risen 50% — to 9% from 6% — and the number of people who intend to use crypto has more than doubled, rising to 7% from 3%.

  • CivicScience's data also show that while the percentage of respondents who say they are not interested in crypto has remained the same, the percentage who say they have never heard of it has dropped from 21% in 2019 to 18% as of the end of January.

One level deeper: The survey found that 6% of respondents say they are likely to purchase cryptocurrency through PayPal, with past experience in crypto investment largely dictating interest.

  • Those who have previously invested in cryptocurrency are the most likely to purchase it through PayPal (26%).
  • Those who intend to invest in cryptocurrency are only slightly less likely to say they will purchase through PayPal (25%).
  • Most who have never invested (including those unaware of cryptocurrency) are unlikely to purchase crypto through PayPal (98%).

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Feb 9, 2021 - Economy & Business

Why Tesla went into bitcoin

Expand chart
Data: YCharts; Chart: Axios Visuals

When Elon Musk's Tesla spends $1.5 billion on bitcoin and announces that it will start accepting the cryptocurrency as payment for its cars, it's natural to ask why it would do such a thing.

Why it matters: The simplest explanation — it's just Elon being Elon — is almost certainly the correct explanation. But it also makes sense that the Tesla CEO would do such a thing.

Surprising pandemic side effect: Soaring trade deficits

Source: Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis; Chart: Axios Visuals

Inflation and jobs may get all the economic headlines, but meanwhile a big shift is taking place in the underpinnings of the world economy: The U.S. trade deficit is soaring.

What's happening: Americans' spending on imported physical goods has gone through the roof, while exports are growing slowly, making the U.S. the world's consumer of last resort.

Mike Allen, author of AM
43 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Third Way: "Big Lie" could become "Big Coup"

Graphic: Third Way

Third Way, the center-left think tank, is urging fellow Democrats to respond to the Capitol riot with "the size, scope, and seriousness of a presidential campaign," co-founder Matt Bennett tells me.

Driving the news: "For the first time in U.S. history, a party must mount two parallel presidential campaigns: one to win the election, and the other to prevent its theft," Bennett said, calling this "a Paul Revere moment."