A summary of the most important stats involving cryptocurrencies | Finder

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 or staying away.

Quick overview

  • A fifth (19%) of Brits have bought cryptocurrency.
  • 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 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 one 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 amount of people who have owned crypto drops to 12% for people aged 45-54 and 4% for those aged 55 and above.

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

Age group Percentage who have bought cryptocurrency
18-34 40.4%
35-44 24.1%
45-54 12.3%
55+ 3.6%

We also asked the people who have invested in cryptocurrency when they first bought some and it is 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, while 11% did so in 2017, 15% in 2018 and 18% in 2019.

Year Percentage of people who first bought crypto then
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- to 24-year-old age group, a fifth (21%) intend to buy cryptocurrency for the first time in the future. 25- to 34-year-olds are right behind, with 16% intending on investing. 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: less than 10% (9%) of 45- to 54-year-olds and 6% of the 55+ generation.

Age group Percentage who intend to buy crypto for the first time in the future
18-24 20.6
25-34 15.5
35-44 11.6
45-54 9.1
55+ 5.9

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

Age group Predicted future ownership
18-24 61.00%
25-34 56.00%
35-44 35.70%
45-54 21.40%
55+ 9.50%

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 for savings accounts and also the fact that buying crypto is now much easier and accessible thanks to the rise in dedicated investing apps and platforms (also 21%).

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

A potentially worrying statistic was that 19% of potential, or existing, crypto investors said a factor behind their decision to invest is 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.

Reason are people buying cryptocurrency? Percentage who agree
I believe cryptocurrency is going to be very influential in the future 22.83%
I think interest rates in savings accounts are poor so I want to try and get higher returns 21.29%
Buying cryptocurrency is more accessible now because of dedicated investing apps and platforms 21.12%
More people appear to be buying cryptocurrency now and I want to get involved 19.59%
I am comfortable with the risk, considering the potential there is to make money 19.59%
Cryptocurrency seems to be an easy way to make money 19.08%
I have seen influential people, like Elon Musk, talking about cryptocurrency and I want to get involved 16.35%
I have saved more money during the pandemic, so I have more I can invest 12.95%
I saw an advert for cryptocurrency 12.27%
Other, please specify 1.70%

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 this anytime soon. 7 in 10 (71%) said they haven’t invested in cryptocurrency and have no plans to do so.

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

After a tough year for many as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, 21% of crypto sceptics said 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 factor behind those who are steering clear of cryptocurrency is that they actually believe that cryptocurrency is a scam (17%).

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

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

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