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FCA reveals that 2.6 million Brits bought cryptocurrency in the past 12 months

Many owners of cryptocurrencies in the U.K. mistakenly believe that they are protected.

Thu, 02 Jul 2020, 07:09 am UTC

The Bitcoin crash in March has not dampened cryptocurrency investors' interest in the U.K. In fact, The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) revealed that there has been a significant rise in crypto ownership among Brits this year.

According to the U.K. financial services regulator estimates, there are now 2.6 million people in the U.K. who have bought cryptocurrency, ComputerWeekly reported. The FCA noted that the figure represents a significant increase in token ownership in the past 12 months.

FCA estimated that, of the 2.6 million who bought cryptocurrency, 1.9 million still own tokens. The regulator also noted that half of them or around 950 million people own cryptocurrency worth £260 or more.

The government agency also said that most of U.K’s cryptocurrency owners are knowledgeable on the digital assets. However, many still do not realize that there are no regulations protecting them. Most of the owners, or around 83 percent of those surveyed, acquired their token through non-UK exchanges.

The aim of FCA’s research was to gain understanding on customers’ attitudes to these digital currencies as well as to estimate the size of the cryptocurrency market in the U.K. The study highlighted the trend that most crypto investors are still unaware on the lack of regulation to protect them and the risks involved due to the volatility of the market.

It appears that advertising is a major factor that could influence people to invest in cryptocurrency. A third of the 2,600 survey participants say that ads “made them more likely to buy” digital currencies.

But the research also noted that crypto owners are setting themselves up for potential losses due to being inadequately informed. The FCA said that around 300,000 cryptocurrency owners that they are protected, which could be a costly mistake.

“Many are not currently regulated in the UK,” the FCA said in the report. “This means the transfer, purchase and sale of such tokens currently falls outside our regulatory remit, leaving customers unable to make complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service or seek protection from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.”

“Cryptoassets present risks and opportunities for consumers, and we hope these insights will help inform the policy debate in the UK and internationally as the use of these assets continues to grow,” FCA interim executive director of strategy and competition Sheldon Mills added.

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