97% of Brits Don’t Own Crypto, Don’t Plan on Buying Bitcoin Either

Journalist:
March 7, 2019

A new report from the United Kingdom’s primary financial regulator suggests we’re still a long way from a cryptocurrency revolution.

According to the report, only 3 percent of people in the UK have bought cryptocurrency. And an enormous 73 percent still have no idea what crypto is or how to define it.

On the bright side, if you own crypto now, you’re in the 3 percent club. If cryptocurrencies do become mainstream, you got in early.

73% Don’t Know What Cryptocurrency Is

The report, conducted by Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the UK’s leading financial regulator, surveyed 2,132 respondents. When asked to explain cryptocurrency, 58 percent said they’d never heard of it. 10 percent didn’t know, and 5 percent answered incorrectly.

73% of UK respondents had never heard of crypto or didn’t know what it was. Source: FCA

Many of those who bought cryptocurrencies admitted to a poor understanding of them. 16 percent of crypto buyers said they hadn’t done any research at all. 4 percent researched crypto only after their purchase.

We still have a huge education problem in the crypto community. A lack of accessible and accurate cryptocurrency information has led to poor investment decisions and a wariness of crypto in general.

Only a Tiny Portion Owns Crypto

According to the report, only 3 percent of the respondents have purchased some form of cryptocurrency.

The most popular purchase is bitcoin, which accounts for 51 percent of buyers. Ethereum is second and Litecoin third. Most buyers spent less than £200 ($263) on their purchase which means most haven’t risked a lot of capital.

Despite that, the report concludes that 50 percent have since sold their cryptocurrency in the prolonged bear market. If correct, only a tiny portion of the British population still owns crypto. Of those that do show an understanding of cryptocurrency, they tend to be middle-class males between 20-44 years old.

As for future purchases, only 1 percent of no-coiners say they’ll definitely buy in the future.

Get Rich Quick?

While most respondents took a reasonable approach to investing in crypto, the study reveals that many were just looking to get rich quick.

“Many had read articles or heard the stories of consumers who had bought Bitcoin in or before 2017 and made a significant amount of money… Already worried that they might have left it too late, they didn’t want to miss out on the chance to be ‘in’ on any crypto assets that might increase in value in the future.”

18% of respondents said they expected to make money quickly from cryptocurrencies. Source: FCA

How Accurate is the Report?

The new data contradicts a UK YouGov report which claims 93 percent of Brits are aware of bitcoin. A further survey revealed that a third of Londoners planned on purchasing crypto.

There are a few things at play here. While most people have heard of bitcoin, few understand it well enough to explain in detail. There’s a huge gap of understanding between bitcoin’s name-recognition and knowing enough to invest.

We should also take into account the date of the survey. This most recent report interviewed respondents in December 2018, in the depths of the crypto bear market. In the space of a year, public interest in cryptocurrency has evaporated and the appetite to learn more has disappeared.

On the Bright Side…

You can look at this way. If you hold bitcoin now, you’re one of the tiny, tiny portion of society at the front of the train. If the other 97 percent of no-coiners jump on board, we’re all going to the moon.

Ben Brown

Ben is a journalist with a decade of experience covering financial markets. Based in London, UK, his writing has appeared in The Huffington Post and he was Chief Editor at Block Explorer, the world's longest-running source of Blockchain data. Reach him at benjamin-brown.uk or on Twitter at _Ben_Brown. Email ben @ benjamin-brown.uk.