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More Brits buying crypto than stockmarket ISAs

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14/06/2021
New research shows more Britons are buying cryptocurrency than investing in a stockmarket ISA.

Research by investment firm AJ Bell found 7% of adults bought cryptocurrency over the last year. This is compared to 5% who invested in a stocks and shares ISA, according to HMRC data.

The survey of 1,269 UK adults revealed that 71% of those who bought crypto reported making a profit. However, 17% said they didn’t know if they were in the black or the red with their crypto purchase.

The vast majority (81%) of people said they didn’t understand how cryptocurrencies work.

It comes as cryptocurrency Bitcoin rallied more than 9% to hit a two-week peak on Monday after Tesla chief executive Elon Musk tweeted that the electric car maker would start accepting Bitcoin again when there was “confirmation of reasonable (~50%) clean energy usage by miners”.

Laith Khalaf, financial analyst at AJ Bell, said: “When more people are buying cryptocurrency than investing in a stockmarket ISA, you have to conclude the world’s gone crypto crazy. It’s possible that cryptocurrencies will ultimately prove to be profitable in the long run, though that’s still highly debatable.

“Even those who have made money shouldn’t be complacent about the risks inherent in cryptocurrencies, as profits can be quickly wiped out by extreme price swings.

“Indeed, the price of Bitcoin remains in thrall to the Twitter activity of Elon Musk, which underlines just how heavily crypto prices are influenced by sentiment, rather than economic fundamentals. Musk’s twitterings are not insignificant, seeing as he is CEO of one of the world’s most valuable companies, however they are hardly a measure of wider business sentiment towards Bitcoin.

“That matters because a big part of the potential value of Bitcoin lies in its ability to be used as a medium of exchange. Ironically, as long as Bitcoin’s volatility continues to be heightened by something as extraneous and unpredictable as a tweet, it’s unlikely to find the firm foundations needed to genuinely bridge transactions between businesses and consumers.”

Most (56%) of the crypto buyers in the survey were under 35, and almost two thirds (64%) were male.

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