Research: More than a third of Brits who invest in cryptocurrency don’t fully understand it

Date: 11 August 2021
Author: Appinio & FINTECH Circle

Despite a huge surge in interest and now more than 2m Brits investing in cryptocurrencies, new research has revealed that over a third of those British investors admit to not fully understanding how cryptocurrencies work.

In a survey conducted by Appinio, the global market research platform, and FINTECH Circle, a leading global fintech community, 36% of those who have invested in cryptocurrency only roughly understand the concept and only one in four (25%) feel able to easily explain it to other people. The survey also showed it is overwhelmingly men who invest with just 21% of investors being female.

Ranking as the third most popular investment choice behind ISAs and individual equity/ shares, 26% of those surveyed now invest in cryptocurrencies. Over half (57%) own or have owned Bitcoin, followed by 44% who own or have owned Etherium and almost 1 in 4 (23%) own or have owned Elon Musk’s favoured cryptocurrency DogeCoin.

Investments and sustainability

Despite 2 in 3 Brits (62%) saying that sustainability is very important to them, only 40% of those who invest in cryptocurrencies say that sustainability is a priority. 42% of investors admit they don’t know how sustainable or socially responsible their portfolio is.

There was an interesting contrast between age groups: Half of all 35-44 year-olds feel sustainability is important when it comes to financial investments. This drops to 35% of 45-54 year-olds and only 23% of 55-65 year-olds rank it as important.


Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are digital assets, such as videos and artwork, bought and sold online by predominantly cryptocurrencies. Although NFTs have been around since 2014, they have become increasingly popular with £123m being spent on them since November 2017, yet when asked about NFTs, the majority of investors (60%) surveyed say they have never heard of them. Less than a third (29%) admit they have heard of NFTs but only roughly understand what they are.

Only 4% own at least one NFT or have bidded on one and feel able to explain the concept to others. The majority of investors surveyed (51%) say it is not something they are interested in investing in.

Investment influences

When asked what the main source of information is for researching what to invest, family and friends are the first port of call with 54% of 16-24 year-olds stating this followed by 41% of 55-65 year-olds.

Social media has notably become an important source of information when it comes to investing as 31% of 18-24 year-olds admit they use social platforms with 31% referring specifically to YouTube.

Susanne Chishti, CEO at FINTECH Circle, said:We have worked with Appinio in tracking the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies and wanted to see both the knowledge in this sector and the effect of online communities that have democratised investing, be that in cryptocurrencies or stocks/ETFs and bonds. The findings clearly show that despite investments into and speculation with cryptocurrencies, there is still a gap in knowledge as to what they are and how they work. This shows there is a greater opportunity for crypto marketplaces to grow closer to investors and potential investors by offering more education about risks and learning in this space.

Appinio surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1000 people in the UK aged 16-65.

Full results can be found here.

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