Over a third of Brits now own some form of cryptocurrency, with 41% of men and 27% of women having invested in the industry.
This according to a recent report from VoucherCodes which found that 34% of U.K. citizens held some form of digital asset. The most popular coins among British crypto buyers are Bitcoin (20%), Ethereum (8%), Dogecoin (6%), Litecoin (5%) and Chainlink (3%).
The news that one third of the U.K.’s population have entered the crypto market comes against the backdrop of the cost of living crisis as gas prices soar, and a pound that is collapsing against its international rivals.
As Robert Peston, the political editor of ITV News pointed out on Twitter this Monday, “the value of the pound against the dollar has fallen by more than a fifth. Against the Euro the fall is a smaller but non-trivial 7%. Against the Swiss Franc the fall is more than 14%. In other words the value of U.K. assets has collapsed under this government.”
Cryptocurrency adoption takes off
There is now mounting evidence that those who get cryptocurrency buy in, while those that don’t are in danger of being left behind. There is still a significant number of U.K. residents who have yet to dip their toe into the crypto water and the majority of those seem determined never to wade in.
Within the 66% of Britons that do not own any cryptocurrency, there remains a hyper skeptical core of hard-line crypto naysayers. In contrast to the 34% of U.K. citizens already using or holding crypto, a similarly sized group of 35% have dug in their heels in and said “no way.”
The most common reason that users cite for not adopting cryptocurrency is a lack of knowledge or understanding at 40%. This is closely followed by the assertion that it is not regulated. Of the other cited reasons for not adopting crypto, many fall within the category of a lack of understanding or knowledge.
As report contributor Dr Garrick Hileman says, “education today remains perhaps the single biggest barrier to crypto adoption.”
A much smaller percentage of citizens (19%) claim to have awareness and would still not invest at all.
New U.K. government gets one thing right
Whether individual British citizens fully understand cryptocurrency or not, U.K. officials seem to understand its potential for growth. Following the Tory leadership election the new U.K. government headed by Liz Truss was quick to signal that it was open to crypto business.
In a speech to the U.K. parliament earlier this month Richard Fuller, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, explained why the country was embracing the industry. Fuller said “the U.K. government are seeking ways to achieve global competitive advantage for the United Kingdom.”
Fuller said the government believed the U.K. “can become the best place in the world to start and scale crypto technologies.”
Sadly for Truss, while her government may understand the potential of the cryptocurrency sector, its wider economic policies indicate a lesser grasp of basic economic reality.
Having signaled tax cuts and major new spending plans in its so-called mini-budget this week, the British pound has tumbled in value. The market has been spooked by the implication that U.K. borrowing levels are set to rise. The worsening macro environment has led to speculation that the Bank of England may be forced to implement an emergency interest rate rise.
The U.K. may be right that cryptocurrency provides a huge potential growth market for the country, but it cannot offer a panacea for reckless economic policies in every other area.