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: Ownership of cryptos is booming and considered an alternative to mainstream investments, according to research by U.K. regulators

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More people now own cryptocurrencies and fewer consider the virtual currencies a gamble, according to research conducted by the U.K. financial regulator.

An estimated 2.3 million of adults in the U.K. now hold cryptoassets, a 21% increase from the 1.9 million seen last year, according to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Bitcoin
BTCUSD,
+0.13%

is probably the best known cryptocurrency, a form of digital money, although dogecoin
DOGEUSD,
-1.24%

is also popular.

Read: A Goldman Sachs Boss Has Reportedly Quit After Making Millions on Dogecoin

The consumer research shows 38% of crypto users regard them as a gamble, down from 47% last year, while increasing numbers see them as either a complement or alternative to mainstream investments. 

As many as 14% of those surveyed claimed to have borrowed money to invest in cryptos after reading reports of large gains.

By contrast, the level of overall understanding of cryptocurrencies is declining, suggesting that some people who have heard of cryptos may not fully understand, with only 71% correctly identifying the definition of cryptocurrency from a list of statements.

Read: Police raided a suspected cannabis farm, only to find an illegal bitcoin mining operation: reports

Sheldon Mills, the FCA’s executive director, consumers and competition, said: “The research highlights increased interest in cryptoassets among U.K. customers.

“The market has continued to grow, and some investors have benefited as prices have risen. However it is important for customers to understand that because these products are largely unregulated that if something goes wrong…they should be prepared to lose all their money.”

The research was commissioned between Jan. 5 to 24, 2021, with more than 3,000 online respondents recruited by YouGov.

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