The effect of warnings on consumer attitudes towards cryptocurrency and central bank digital currency: A survey experiment

Last registered on October 09, 2020


Trial Information

General Information

The effect of warnings on consumer attitudes towards cryptocurrency and central bank digital currency: A survey experiment
Initial registration date
October 08, 2020

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
October 09, 2020, 9:02 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

Leibniz University Hannover

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Leibniz University Hannover

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
The use of cryptocurrencies involves specific risks including high volatility, cybertheft, and lack of regulation. Considering their potential to destabilize the financial system, authorities have an interest in efficient regulation of cryptocurrencies. Official warnings form the lowest threshold in the spectrum of possible regulatory procedures. At the same time, central banks around the world consider the issuance of their own cryptocurrencies – called central bank digital currency (CBDC) – which may combine the advantages of blockchain technology and legal tender. The success of any currency strongly depends on the adoption by consumers. Using a survey experiment, we investigate the impact of official warnings on the attitudes towards Bitcoin, the world’s leading cryptocurrency, and central bank digital money.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Ebers, Axel and Stephan Thomsen. 2020. "The effect of warnings on consumer attitudes towards cryptocurrency and central bank digital currency: A survey experiment." AEA RCT Registry. October 09.
Experimental Details


We test the impact of four different information treatments, which differ in the elaboration of the official warning. The first warning points to the lack of regulation, the second to the environmental costs, and the third to the lack of anonymity. The fourth treatment arm does not contain a warning but a remark on the increasing acceptance of digital payment and cryptocurrency in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Attitude towards buying Bitcoin, intention/ willingness to buy Bitcoin, attitude towards buying CBDC, intention/ willingness to buy CBDC
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
To assess the effectiveness of official warnings, we select outcome variables that indicate the demand of Bitcoin or CBDC. We therefore use the individual attitudes towards buying Bitcoin or CBDC as well as the intention to buy as our primary outcomes.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Experimental Design:
We conduct a randomized controlled trial (RCT) by randomly assigning the participants into 4 treatment groups and one control group. The treatment groups each receive one of the four information treatments. The control group receives no treatment.

Data Collection:
We conduct survey experiments in Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy. In each of these countries, we draw a random sample of 500 observations from a pool of individuals that is representative of the working population. We randomly assign the observation units into the five groups as described above resulting in 100 observations in each treatment arm. Data collection takes place via online survey. In total, we draw a random sample of 2,000 observations with 400 being allocated to each of the treatment arms.

Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
2,000 individuals
Sample size: planned number of observations
2,000 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
400 individuals in treatment group 1, 400 individuals in treatment group 2, 400 individuals in treatment group 3, 400 individuals in treatment group 4, and 400 individuals in control group
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

There is information in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access.

Request Information


Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials