On 30 June 2020, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published a research note on cryptoassets consumer behaviour. The note is based on the results of quantitative research, commissioned by the FCA, to ensure its understanding of consumer behaviour and the areas of potential harm is accurate. It builds on the results of the FCA’s qualitative research, published in March 2019, and forms part of the wider project of work being undertaken by the UK Cryptoasset Taskforce.
Highlights from the research:
- Whilst the FCA research highlights a growing awareness of cryptocurrencies; ownership within the UK population remains low, at 3.86%.
- Most consumers seem to understand the risks associated with the lack of protections and high volatility of the product. However, the same level of knowledge was not demonstrable in relation to the technology underlying cryptocurrencies.
- Technical knowledge was higher among individuals who actually held cryptocurrencies.
- Currently, consumers tend to treat cryptocurrencies as a form of speculation, akin to gambling, rather than as a payment or investment.
In July 2019, the FCA consulted on banning the sale of certain cryptoasset derivatives to retail investors. The consultation closed in October 2019 and the results are awaited.