Which Brits are willing to go all-in on cryptocurrency?

Matt PalframanDirector, Financial Services Research
March 25, 2021, 5:20 PM UTC

The conversation around Bitcoin often revolves around its valuation – not surprisingly, given that in 2021 it has already smashed through the $40,000, $50,000, and $60,000 barriers. But among all the news items about people who’ve forgotten the passwords to $240m hard drives, it’s easy to forget that cryptocurrencies are supposed to be, well, currencies: mediums of exchange, as much as assets to be speculated on. So how many Brits are willing to use them accordingly?  

According to data from YouGov Profiles, just 5% say they’d be prepared to give up their bank accounts and rely entirely on cryptocurrency. Demographically speaking, this group is overwhelmingly male: two-thirds are men (66%). They also skew significantly younger than the general population: more than half are aged 18-34 (52% vs. 28% of the public), with two in five aged 35-54 (40% vs. 34% nat rep) and just 8% aged over 55 (vs. 38% of the public). This group are also significantly less likely to belong to higher income brackets: two in five earn less than 75% of the national median wage compared to three in ten members of the public (39% vs. 29% of the public). 

On one hand, this may be encouraging for people who sincerely believe in the potential of Bitcoin, Ethereum and their counterparts as actual currencies: certainly, those who are most willing to ditch their retail banks and go all-in on cryptocurrency are not a moneyed elite. On the other hand, the attitudes of the 5% may reveal that they too see it as less a form of exchange than a conventional investment.  

Nearly three in five, for example, say they like to take risks on the stock market (58%) compared to just 12% of the general public. Two-thirds also agree that they like to look for profitable ways to invest money (66%) next to just two in five (40%) of Britons overall – which could indicate that they are less interested in its applications as a currency than they are in its potential to break through further valuation barriers.  

There’s also some evidence to suggest that the 5% who say that they’re willing to ditch banks and embrace cryptocurrency are motivated more by discontent towards banks than enthusiasm for blockchain technology. Two-thirds say banks try to trick people out of money (64%) next to a third of the public (36%), and just three in ten of this group say they’re either likely or very likely to buy cryptocurrency in the next 12 months (30%).  So while they may be prepared to swap their bank accounts for crypto, most don’t plan to any time soon.  

Elon Musk recently announced that it would be possible to buy Tesla vehicles with Bitcoin. But all in all, it appears that, right now, even the Brits who are most enthusiastic about cryptocurrency are not fully banking on it as a means of exchange just yet. The retail cryptocurrency revolution may be a way off yet. 

Methodology

YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data from several sources, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data referenced is based on a sample size of 1,350 people who agreed that they were willing to give up their bank account in favour of cryptocurrency. Profiles data is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. 

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