Why aren’t we all buying cryptocurrency?

According to our survey, an estimated 12 million Brits think cryptocurrency is too complicated to understand

While there are lots of people talking about cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, many are yet to take the plunge and own any. We explore why we aren’t all buying cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin’s social media success is phenomenal. It pulled in 28,866 social media posts on February 15, 2018 according to data from Solume.io. This equates to approximately 1,203 posts in an hour, 20 posts per minute, or one post every three seconds. This figure doesn’t even include the social media posts of other cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Ripple – just to name a few.

But how many Brits have actually bought cryptocurrency? Despite the online popularity, it turns out that not many have, according to our recent survey of 2,000 Brits. In fact, the study found that 97.15% have never purchased any cryptocurrency. That means over 1.1 million Brits are estimated to have put their money into cryptocurrency. Of those who have, the vast majority, 78.95%, said the coin they’ve chosen to buy was bitcoin.


Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade. Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

If so many people are talking about crypto, why hasn’t everyone bought it yet?

Bitcoin, the major player in cryptocurrency, started 2017 off at US$953.56. It reached a high of US$20,089.00 on December 17, 2017 (+2,007%) and then dropped back to US$9,167.97 (-54%) on March 13, 2018, according to CoinMarketCap. Since, Bitcoin has bounced back, with it reaching $15,657 on the 12th November 2020.

This volatility could show why the most common reason Brits have not bought cryptocurrency yet is because they think the risk is too high (31.09%). Considering bitcoin’s recent fluctuations, who can blame them?

The second most common reason why Brits haven’t yet bought cryptocurrency is that it’s too complicated to understand (30.31%). This is followed closely by the 30.11% who say they aren’t interested in crypto.

Transaction fees on cryptocurrency exchanges can fluctuate dramatically, depending on demand. For instance, the average transaction fee peaked at US$54.90 in December 2017, according to BitInfoCharts and is now averaging just US$5.28 as of March 11, 2020. So it’s no surprise that we found 4.63% of Brits haven’t bought crypto there are too many fees.

Reasons why people aren't buying cryptocurrency Proportion
It’s too high-risk 31.09%
Too complicated to understand 30.31%
There’s no need/I’m disinterested 30.11%
I have no money to buy 29.44%
It’s a bubble 19.04%
It’s a scam 16.42%
Too difficult to use 9.68%
Other reasons 8.80%
There are too many fees 4.63%

Men are more likely to have bought crypto than women, sitting at 3.66% compared to 2.06% for women.

The main reason men chose to not yet invest was that the risk was too high (35.69%). A further 28.83% claim it’s too complicated to understand, while 26.61% admit a lack of interest or need for crypto.

For women who haven’t bought crypto, 33.43% say that there’s no need or they’re disinterested in cryptocurrency. This was closely followed by about one in three (32.33%) who said they have no money to buy, and 31.73% saying it’s simply too complicated to understand.

Reasons why people aren't buying cryptocurrency Female Male
There’s no need/I’m disinterested 33.43% 26.61%
I have no money to buy 32.33% 26.40%
Too complicated to understand 31.73% 28.83%
It’s too high-risk 26.71% 35.69%
It’s a bubble 12.75% 25.66%
It’s a scam 12.55% 20.49%
Other reasons 10.14% 7.39%
Too difficult to use 7.23% 12.25%
There are too many fees 3.21% 6.12%


Of the three generations, baby boomers are the least likely to have purchased any cryptocurrency, while millennials are the most likely. Of those surveyed, 4.68% of millennials, 2.77% of Gen X and 1.58% of baby boomers say they’ve jumped on the crypto bandwagon.

One in three millennials (33.84%) haven’t invested because they thought it was too complicated to understand. A further 29.68% have no money to invest, while 24.95% claim the risk is too high.

When it comes to Gen X, the most common reason they haven’t purchased was due to not having the money to buy (31.38%). 29.43% think that it’s too complicated to understand and 27.18% say there’s no need or they’re disinterested.

Almost two in five baby boomers (39.04%) who haven’t bought crypto said the risk was simply too high. The next most common reason was a lack of interest (37.17%), followed by 28.61% saying it’s too complicated to understand.

Reasons why people aren’t buying cryptocurrency Millennial Gen X Baby Boomer
Too complicated to understand 33.84% 29.43% 28.61%
I have no money to invest 29.68% 31.38% 27.54%
It’s too high-risk 24.95% 27.03% 39.04%
There’s no need/I’m disinterested 23.82% 27.18% 37.17%
It’s a scam 13.99% 14.86% 19.52%
Other reasons 13.04% 7.81% 6.68%
It’s a bubble 11.34% 19.22% 24.33%
Too difficult to use 10.96% 7.81% 10.43%
There are too many fees 6.24% 3.15% 4.81%

If you’re a part of the 30.31% who are finding cryptocurrency too complicated to understand, check out our cryptocurrency guide containing key information, tools and analysis to break down the phenomenon taking over our news feeds.

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

Matt Mckenna
Head of UK communications
T: +44 20 8191 8806

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