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According to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the UK’s financial regulator, the number of UK cryptocurrency buyers grew by 42% in the last year, from 1.5 million in 2019 to 2.6 million in 2020.

The figure is part of the research carried out by the FCA and the Bank of England, in partnership with other government agencies. For FCA managing director Sheldon Mills, the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies among British consumers is the result of greater understanding of the market and how people interact with these assets.

For the FCA, the majority of respondents are familiar with cryptocurrencies, understand the risks of volatility and are aware of the lack of regulatory structure of the segment.

Other highlights of the study

The FCA estimates that 3.86% of the British population has acquired cryptocurrencies in the last year. This corresponds to 1.9 million of the UK population over the age of 18, estimated at 50 million.

According to the regulator agency, the main reason for buying cryptocurrencies (47% of respondents) was “a bet where you could win or lose money””. Second place (25%), went to the use of cryptocurrencies “as part of the development of a more diversified investment portfolio”.

FOMO – the acronym for fear of missing out, or ‘fear of being left out’ – also appears as motivators for 22% – for those, the use of cryptocurrencies relate to “part of a long-term savings plan” (17%) and “for political or ideological reasons, or distrust of the financial system” (17%).