Consumer interest in cryptocurrencies is generally driven by a 'get rich quick' attitude coupled with only a vague understanding of market dynamics, according to research conducted by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Barely three percent of the 2000+ consumers surveyed by the FCA had made an investment in cryoptoassets such as bitcoin and ether.
Several of those interviewed talked of wanting to buy a ‘whole’ coin, suggesting they did not realise they could buy part of a cryptoasset. Despite this lack of understanding, the cryptoasset owners interviewed were often looking for ways to ‘get rich quick’, citing friends, acquaintances and social media influencers as key motivations for buying cryptoassets.
Christopher Woolard, the FCA’s executive director of strategy and competition says: "The results suggest that although cryptoassets may not be well understood by many consumers, the vast majority don’t buy or use them currently. Whilst the research suggests some harm to individual cryptoasset users, it does not suggest a large impact on wider society. Nevertheless, cryptoassets are complex, volatile products - consumers investing in them should be prepared to lose all of their money."
The FCA is currently consulting on guidance to clarify the types of cryptoassets that fall within the existing regulatory perimeter and has issued proposals to ban the sale of certain cryptoasset derivatives to retail investors.