Cryptocurrency statistics 2021

How many users in the UK own cryptocurrency?

Ever since Bitcoin was first invented in 2008, cryptocurrency has quickly grown in popularity – and notoriety.

Find out how many Brits currently own cryptocurrency, how many intend to buy some in the future and the reasons why people are getting involved in the latest trends, such as Dogecoin, or staying away from crypto altogether.

Quick overview

  • A fifth (19%) of Brits have bought cryptocurrency before.
  • The number of people who have bought cryptocurrency in the UK has increased by 558% since 2018 when just 3% of the population owned cryptocurrency.
  • 71% of Brits still say they have no intention of ever buying cryptocurrency.
  • The most common reasons why people are buying cryptocurrency is that they think it will be very influential in the future and that interest rates for savings accounts are too low.
  • The main reasons why many people are avoiding crypto are that they have no interest in it and they believe it’s too risky.
  • There’s a new post every three seconds on social media about Bitcoin alone.
  • The average age on the crypto rich list is 42, compared to 67 on the traditional Forbes rich list.
  • There are estimated to be over 7,800 different coins in existence.
  • At the end of 2019, it was estimated that 1,085 coins had failed and gone out of existence.
  • Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency with around a 60% share of the market.
  • Despite 1 Bitcoin costing roughly $0.0008 when it launched in 2010, its value hit $50,000 for the first time in February 2021.

How many people own cryptocurrency?

According to our survey in February 2021, almost a fifth (19%) of Brits say they have bought cryptocurrency before, which is the equivalent of 9.8 million people.

This means that the number of cryptocurrency users in the UK has surged by 558% since the beginning of 2018 when just 3% of the population – 1.5 million people – owned some.

Who is buying cryptocurrency?

It’s the younger generations who are currently the most keen on investing in cryptocurrency. 4 in 10 (40%) of those aged 18-34 have bought at least one type of crypto, while almost a quarter (24%) of people aged 35-44 have as well.

The proportion of people who have owned crypto drops to 12% for people aged 45-54 and to 4% for those aged 55 and above.

More men have owned cryptocurrency than women, with almost a quarter (24%) of men having bought some, compared to just 13% of women.

Age group Percentage of people who have bought cryptocurrency
18-34 40.40%
35-44 24.10%
45-54 12.30%
55+ 3.60%

Is cryptocurrency becoming more popular?

We also asked the people who have invested in cryptocurrency when they first bought it, and it’s clear that interest is growing. A quarter (25%) of all British crypto owners first invested in 2020 and a fifth (19%) of crypto holders first got involved in 2021. This means that 45% of all British crypto holders got involved from 2020 onwards.

In fact, interest has grown fairly steadily year on year. 11% of crypto investors first bought some in 2016 or before, 11% did so in 2017, 15% in 2018 and 18% in 2019.

Year Percentage of people who first bought crypto at this time
2016 or before 11.20%
2017 10.70%
2018 14.90%
2019 18.40%
2020 25.30%
2021 19.50%

Is cryptocurrency’s growth set to continue?

The growth of cryptocurrency looks set to continue, with a further 11% of Brits saying they plan to buy some in the future. If this were to happen, it would mean that almost a third (29%) of the country would own cryptocurrency.

As with those who have already bought cryptocurrency, the younger generations have a greater interest in buying cryptocurrency for the first time in the future. Of the 18-24-year-old age group, a fifth (21%) intend to buy cryptocurrency for the first time in the future. 25-34-year-olds are right behind, with 16% intending to invest. This drops to 1 in 10 (12%) for people aged between 35 and 44. This interest in investment continues to drop for the older generations: 9% of 45-54-year-olds and 6% of those aged 55+ intend to invest in cryptocurrencies.

Age group Percentage who intend to buy crypto for the first time in the future
18-24 20.60%
25-34 15.50%
35-44 11.60%
45-54 9.10%
55+ 5.90%

As a result of this trend, the predicted future cryptocurrency ownership* also decreases with age. In the future, 6 in 10 current 18-24-year-olds (61%) would own cryptocurrency. The next age bracket is only slightly behind, with 56% of 25-34-year-olds owning crypto in the future. This figure drops significantly with each consecutive age group.

*The future ownership prediction is based on the current ownership figures added to those who intend to buy crypto for the first time in the future.

Age group Predicted future ownership
18-24 61%
25-34 56%
35-44 36%
45-54 21%
55+ 10%

Why are people buying cryptocurrency?

The most popular reason why people have already bought, or intend to buy, cryptocurrency is that they believe it is going to be very influential in the future (23%).

This is closely followed by 21% of people who are frustrated with the interest rates of savings accounts and 21% of people who think that buying cryptocurrency is now much easier and accessible thanks to the rise in dedicated investing apps and platforms.

Other reasons why people are taking the plunge include seeing others get involved and not wanting to miss out (20%), as well as being with the risks involved in their pursuit to make money (20%).

A potentially worrying statistic is that 19% of potential and existing crypto investors think that it seems like an easy way to make money. Additionally, around 1 in 6 (16%) said that influential people, such as Elon Musk, talking about cryptocurrency had convinced them to invest.

Reasons people buy cryptocurrency Percentage who agree
More people are buying cryptocurrency and I want to get involved 19.60%
I am comfortable with the risk, considering the potential to make money 19.60%
Buying cryptocurrency is more accessible now because of dedicated investing platforms 21.10%
I think interest rates of savings accounts are poor so I want to try and get higher returns 21.30%
I believe cryptocurrency is going to be very influential in the future 22.80%

Why are people avoiding cryptocurrency?

Despite the undoubted increase in interest that cryptocurrency has received, the majority of the population are not planning to invest in it anytime soon. 7 in 10 (71%) said they haven’t invested in cryptocurrency and have no plans to do so.

The main reason given by these people is that they simply have no interest in cryptocurrency (41%), while the second most common reason is that they feel it’s too risky an investment (31%).

After a tough year for many as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, 21% of crypto sceptics said that they don’t have any money spare to invest. A further 1 in 5 (20%) also find crypto too complicated to understand.

The fifth most common reason that people are steering clear of cryptocurrency is that they actually believe it’s a scam (17%).

Reasons people avoid cryptocurrency Percentage who agree
Other 1.80%
There are too many fees 4.30%
It's too difficult to buy and sell 6.00%
I think the prices are currently a "bubble" 7.90%
I don't believe it will be around in the future 8.10%
I prefer other types of investments 9.90%
I think it's a scam 17.10%
It's too complicated to understand 20.40%
I have no money available to invest 21.30%
I think it's too risky 31.10%
I am not interested in cryptocurrency 41.10%

Cryptocurrency holdings by household income

More than all other household income groups, 40% of those earning under £20,000 have cryptocurrency holdings of up to £260. 15% of those earning between £50,000 and £99,999 own cryptocurrencies worth up to £10,000. Households that fall within this earning bracket are also more likely than other groups to own cryptocurrencies valued beyond £10,000 (12%).

A quarter of households earning between £20,000 and £49,999 hold cryptocurrencies valued up to £260, while those earning £100,000 and more are surprisingly less active in the cryptocurrency arena. Just 3% have cryptocurrencies worth more than £10,000, and a mere 18% (the lowest of all groups) have holdings of up to £260.

Household income Unknown Crypto holdings £1-£260 Crypto holdings £261-£1,000 Crypto holdings £1,001-£10,000 Crypto holdings £10,001 or more
Under £20,000 48% 40% 5% 7% 0%
£20,000 - £49,999 44% 25% 13% 13% 6%
£50,000 - £99,999 34.40% 25.30% 13.10% 14.90% 12.20%
£100,000+ 51% 18% 17% 11% 3%

Which cryptocurrencies are Brits most familiar with?

Recognition of Bitcoin stands at 82% in 2021, and it is interestingly the only coin that’s recognition has increased since 2020. Other notable coins saw a drop in recognition. For example, Ethereum dropped to 14%, Ripple dropped to 5% and Litecoin dropped to 9%. Diem (previously called Libra in 2020) is the least recognised coin among those listed, dropping from 22% to 4%. This decrease in recognition is most likely due to the rebrand.

Cryptocurrency 2020 2021
Bitcoin 78% 82%
XRP (Ripple) 7% 5%
Ethereum 17% 14%
Bitcoin Cash 20% 21%
Litecoin 12% 9%
Bitcoin SV 12% 11%
Libra/Diem 22% 4%
Crypto-based product* 6% 4%
A different cryptocurrency 8% 4%
None 15% 8%

How much has the UK invested in cryptocurrencies?

On average, Brits invested £3,789 into various cryptocurrencies in the first half of 2021, with the majority (34%) investing £1,000. 22% invested £100 and just 12% invested £10. At the higher end of the spectrum, 16% of Brits invested £5,000 in cryptocurrencies from January 2021 to June 2021.

Amount invested in cryptocurrencies Percentage of Brits who have invested this amount
£1,000 34%
£100 22%
£2,000 21%
£200 20%
£5,000 16%
£500 13%
£400 13%
£50 13%
£10 12%
£250 10%

How many Brits are investing by month?

In January 2021, 4% of the nation were investing in cryptocurrency. In February, this number increased to just below 5%. March 2021 saw the most Brits investing in cryptocurrencies, with up to 6% of the nation putting some money into crypto. April saw this percentage drop to 5%, and it decreased to 4% in May and June.

Month Percentage of Brits who invested in cryptocurrency
January 2021 4.45%
February 2021 4.72%
March 2021 5.80%
April 2021 5.04%
May 2021 4.39%
June 2021 3.74%

Sources used

  • Forbes
  • CoinMarketCap
  • Coinopsy

Methodology

  • Finder commissioned Censuswide on 12-15 February 2021 to carry out a nationally representative survey of adults aged 18+.
  • A total of 2,000 people were questioned throughout Great Britain, with representative quotas for gender, age and region.

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806
matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

Latest cryptocurrency headlines

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked
Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site