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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.

SoCalGas agrees to $1.8 billion settlement for 2015 gas blowout

An evacuee with a Save Porter Ranch sign outside Southern California Gas Company's Aliso Canyon gate in Porter Ranch in January 2016 as the gas leak continued. Photos: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Southern California Gas Company and its parent company announced Monday they've agreed to pay up to $1.8 billion in settlement claims over the 2015 Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility blowout.

Why it matters: Some 100,000 tons of methane, ethane and toxic chemicals poured into the air for 112 days, forcing over 8,000 families to evacuate from their Los Angeles-area homes and sickening thousands of others with headaches, nausea and nosebleeds, per the L.A. Times.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

North Korea fires short-range missile to sea, slams "hostile" U.S. policy

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Photo: API/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Tuesday that North Korea's military had fired a short-range missile toward its eastern sea, per AP.

Why it matters: North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations defended the latest launch in remarks to the UN General Assembly, demanding the U.S. and South Korea end their "hostile policy" against the country.