FCA research reveals 21% increase in cryptoasset ownership
Research published by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the UK’s financial watchdog, estimates that around 2.3 million adults in the UK now hold cryptoassets.
The new figure is up from around 1.9 million last year, marking a 21% increase.
Following a sharp rise in prices and increased media exposure towards the end of 2020, 78% of adults have now heard of cryptoassets, up from 73% since last year.
The research, conducted in January this year, also shows that as holding cryptoassets has become more common, attitudes towards them have changed.
The number of crypto users who regard them as a gamble has fallen from 47% last year to 38% this year, while increasing numbers see them as either a complement or alternative to mainstream investments.
“The research highlights increased interest in cryptoassets among UK customers,” says Sheldon Mills, executive director, consumers and competition at the FCA.
“The market has continued to grow, and some investors have benefitted as prices have risen.
“However, it is important for customers to understand that because these products are largely unregulated that if something goes wrong they are unlikely to have access to the FSCS or the Financial Ombudsman Service.
“If consumers invest in these types of products, they should be prepared to lose all their money.”
Cryptoasset price has been characteristically volatile this year. Market leader Bitcoin started the year at $29,000 before rising to an all-time high of $64,000 in April ahead of crypto exchange Coinbase’s stock market debut.
Those gains have since been wiped out following China’s recent crackdown and Tesla’s u-turn on accepting Bitcoin as payment.
During this time, the FCA has been quick to warn investors about the high risks involved in investing in cryptoassets.
Meanwhile, the UK’s HM Treasury is in the first stages of a consultative process over the regulation of both cryptoassets and stablecoins.