More than 5m Britons have invested in bitcoin and crypto with some sitting on big gains but others on heavy losses
More than 5m adults in the UK have owned a risky crypto asset, a report has revealed.
One in ten people over the age of 18 said they bought a digital currency such as bitcoin at some point over the last few years – a startling rise from the Financial Conduct Authority’s estimate of 2.3m last year.
But worryingly, the research from HM Revenue & Customs and data firm Kantar showed that 55 per cent of those had never sold any of their holdings – meaning many are likely sitting on heavy losses as the value of crypto has tumbled in recent months.
High risk: One in ten people over the age of 18 said they bought a digital currency such as bitcoin at some point over the last few years
The Bank of England, meanwhile, warned crypto owners to brace for a storm, with rising interest rates and sky-high inflation causing turmoil in markets.
Sounding the alarm on crypto, its financial stability report said: ‘Crypto asset valuations have fallen sharply, exposing a number of vulnerabilities within crypto asset markets.’
It added that faster-than-expected interest rate hikes and slower-than-expected economic growth would leave risky assets such as crypto ‘vulnerable to further sharp adjustments’.
HMRC’s report showed that 76 per cent of crypto-asset owners were aged under 45 and the majority, at 69 per cent, were male.
Just over half of current owners, at 52 per cent, had holdings of up to £1,000, with 7 per cent holding more than £5,000 in crypto.
The most mentioned reason for having crypto-assets, cited by 52 per cent, was that they are a ‘fun investment’ – but a worrying 19 per cent said crypto-assets were a ‘core part of my investment portfolio’.