Most Brits Have Heard of Crypto, But Few Own or Understand It

Pop stars and billionaires may be peddling all things Bitcoin, but crypto remains a confusing industry for most Britons and an investment reserved for a small minority.

According to a YouGov survey published by the U.K.’s financial regulator, less than 5% hold cryptocurrencies and the median reported holding is 300 pounds ($418). The researchers found that awareness is high, with about 80% of adults saying they’ve heard of crypto -- though many users admitted to not have a strong grasp on how the market works.

“Some crypto users may not fully understand what they are buying,” the FCA said in the report. “However, we find that attitudes have shifted, as cryptocurrencies appear to have become more normalized.”

The study suggests that for all the talk about digital currencies becoming a mainstream asset, it hasn’t made inroads yet in attracting a wider segment of the population.

Among crypto believers, there is an enthusiastic fan base, which skews largely male and wealthy. In last year’s survey, the highest reported crypto holding was 30,000 pounds. This year, it’s 7 million pounds.

Most Brits Have Heard of Crypto, But Few Own or Understand It

Bitcoin has fluctuated in the $30,000-range for the past month, after a 35% plunge in May. Prices are still up more than 300% from a year ago.

Other highlights from the study:

  • Consumer attitudes are changing. Among crypto users, fewer consider it a gamble (38%, versus 47% a year ago) and more see them as an alternative to mainstream investment.
  • About half of crypto users reported that they plan to buy more, and a similar proportion said they “know they’ll make money at some point.”
  • The estimate for ownership is about 2.3 million people, up from 1.9 million in 2020.
  • The study took place in January, with the research divided into two samples. One that included nationally representative group of 2,568 people and a second smaller set of crypto users.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.