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Digital assets: How are European consumers using and investing?

Our new research dives into consumer crypto trends in the UK and Europe.

This article is not intended to be financial, investment or trading advice. This article is solely for information and education purposes. It does not protect against any financial loss, risk or fraud. Cryptocurrencies are unregulated in the UK. Capital Gains Tax or other taxes may apply. The value of investments is variable and can go down as well as up.

From who’s investing and using crypto, to how widespread is its adoption – our new research, Lost in Crypto-Transactions, surveys more than 3,000 adults across five key European territories (the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Poland) to discover the state of crypto in the region.

Here, we share key findings, to give you a snapshot of how consumers are using crypto today. 

Supportive regulation is helping digital asset growth

According to our survey, 28% of respondents in Germany and 24% of adults in France say they owned a cryptocurrency in the last 12 months. The UK scored similarly, at 24%. This number was lower in Italy and Poland, with just 17% and 8%, respectively.

This healthy adoption of digital assets is likely to grow, too, as European countries adopt crypto-friendly regulation.

Germany and France, for example, are emerging as cryptocurrency hubs, and are complying with the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) legislation, which came into force in June 2023 and provides a regulatory framework for the industry across the 27-nation bloc.

For the UK, building a regulatory framework is also a priority, according to current Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak: “We want to see the businesses of tomorrow – and the jobs they create - here in the UK, and by regulating effectively we can give them the confidence they need to think and invest long-term”.

Who is using and investing cryptocurrency?

Our research shows young men (64% of respondents to our survey versus 35% identifying as female) are the predominant users and investors in cryptocurrency. However, they are not the only users and investors – with the technology spanning at least three different generations.

Millennials or Generation Y (typically someone born between 1981 and 1996) are the most active generation of crypto holders and users, with 26% of all respondents coming from the 25 to 34 age categories. This is far higher than Gen Z (around 18 and 24-years-old), which only made up 13% of or survey.

Meanwhile, Generation X (roughly people born in the mid-1960s and the late 1970s), may not be as active as the younger generations, but our survey found they have more diverse portfolios. Almost 40% of users within this cohort were found to have up to 10 different cryptocurrencies.

How are people paying for crypto?

Not only does the way people use and invest in crypto vary across age groups, the way they pay is also different.

While traditional methods like credit and debit cards and bank transfers (28%) remain the most popular, these were closely followed by a local payment method (LPM) that’s growing in prominence: digital wallets (25%).

In addition, a third of 25 to 34-year-old crypto users use cash to purchase the digital assets, while 28% of 35 to 44-year-old opt for the same method.

With this in mind, it’s essential for merchants to support a range of payments options – including eCash, which allows users to make online payments using physical currency. In doing so, they can ensure they are attracting new customers and not frustrating current ones.

By meeting consumer expectations around payment methods, and giving them the experience they seek when buying digital assets, businesses can encourage greater investment and usage in the future.

Learn more about consumer trends around cryptocurrency by downloading our Lost in Crypto-Transactions report.