This article was published on March 7, 2019

FCA: Cryptocurrency noobs still buy Bitcoin without understanding it


FCA: Cryptocurrency noobs still buy Bitcoin without understanding it
Yessi Bello Perez
Story by

Yessi Bello Perez

Former Senior Writer, Growth Quarters

It’s been 10 years since Bitcoin and its underlying blockchain first emerged, but it seems consumers are still largely uninformed about the inner workings of the technology.

Today, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) released two pieces of research – qualitative interviews and a national survey – looking at consumer’s attitudes towards crypto-assets, and found that most people still don’t fully understand what they’re buying. Even worse: hardly anyone does any actual research before investing.

Anecdotal findings from the qualitative research found that several consumers spoke about wanting to purchase a whole coin, not realising they could own a fraction of a cryptocurrency.

Despite failing to fully grasp the concept, many of those surveyed said they were looking for ways in which to “get rich quick”. They cited social media influencers, friends, and acquaintances as the key decisive motivators for investing in cryptocurrencies.  

The survey responses also shed some light on the overall level of awareness among UK consumers.

Some 73 percent of respondents said they didn’t know what a cryptocurrency was or were unable to define it. As expected, those most aware were likely to be men aged between 20 and 44.

The FCA estimates that only 3 percent of consumers surveyed had bought crypto assets, with around half of these spending under $262 (£200); a large majority said they had funded their purchases using their disposable income.

Unsurprisingly, Bitcoin seemed to be the most popular cryptocurrency among consumers, with more than 50 percent of crypto-holders reporting to have spent their money on this product. Only one in three (34 percent) chose Ethereum.

The findings generally fall in line with widely held assumptions about the industry: it’s still niche, Bitcoin remains the most well-known, and popular, cryptocurrency, and most consumers are dipping their toes in the cryptocurrency industry in a bid to make some extra money. 


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