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UK Cryptocurrency Adoption Statistics

Last updated 10th May 2022
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UK Leads in Crypto Adoption

Recent surveys point to surging crypto ownership numbers in the UK. The year 2021 was mostly positive for the digital currency industry. Apart from the meteoric rise in prices of most cryptocurrencies, there was a sense of acceptance that cryptocurrencies are a viable form of investment.

  • There were about 1.5 million people who owned crypto-assets in the UK in 2018. Adoption increased drastically to about 9.8m in 2021. The numbers represent a staggering 650% increase in crypto adoption.

  • The number of users on crypto providers also rose exponentially in 2021. Coinbase led the way with over 100,000 Daily active users (DAU). Binance and eToro were other leading crypto providers popular in the country.

The UK is second only to the US in the amount of funding received by digital asset investment companies. London alone has about 350 companies, including crypto exchanges and blockchain projects, in the crypto space

  • Like most countries globally, Bitcoin leads in usage and ownership across the UK. Here is a list of the top 5 cryptos in the UK:

Crypto Ownership by Coin UKPercentage of Crypto Owners
Bitcoin42.8%
Ethereum32.9%
Ripple17.4%
Dogecoin16.9%
Solana15.1%
  • Meme coin Dogecoin, which has the fourth highest ownership rate at 17% .

Bitcoin Adoption in The UK

  • Bitcoin ownership rates dropped from 56.7% in October 2021 to 42.8% in December the same year.

  • In terms of absolute numbers, there are about 3.3m Bitcoin owners in the country.

  • The UK ranks 11th out of the 27 countries in the survey. The country's Bitcoin adoption levels ranked higher than the global average, at 39.1%.

  • Bitcoin ATMs play a key role by easing the process of buying and selling cryptocurrencies. According to data from Coin ATM Radar, there were over 80 Bitcoin ATMs in the UK before a ban on them by the UK government.

The UK Leads in Crypto Deals in Europe

The country leads in the value of cryptocurrency transactions in Europe. The total value of transactions in 2021 amounted to £123 billion, according to a report by Chainalysis.

Decentralized Finance protocols (DeFi) and large institutional investors contributed immensely to this increase in volume. Crypto projects and applications with lending and staking options offer alternatives to traditional financial services, leading to increased crypto usage.

The UK beat the likes of France, Germany, and the Netherlands— countries that also had significant volumes.

It is now becoming easier to shop and trade across stores in the UK using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. A report from Cybercrew estimates that more than 500 stores provide crypto payment options in the UK.

Bitcoin is not the only cryptocurrency available to spend in the UK - Dogecoin (tipping on Reddit), Ethereum (NFTs and more) and Solana (on NFTs) all have spending options.

Purpose of Crypto Adoption in the UK

As the crypto craze continues to grow, reasons for adoption continue to differ, considering different demographics across the country. The influence and onus to own crypto mostly emanate from the media.

According to an FCA crypto-asset consumer report, there were five main reasons why Britons invested in cryptos.

Reason for UK Crypto InvestmentTotal Percentage of Owners
A gamble to make money47%
Diversifying investment portfolio25%
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)22%
Long-term saving plan17%
Ideologies17%
Using cryptocurrency for gambling is incredibly dangerous. When investing in cryptocurrency ensure you have researched options in full and never invest more than you can afford to lose.

UK Cryptocurrency Adoption by Demographics

There is a notable difference between adoption levels when it comes to different age groups. The same also applies to gender, level of education, and income.

Data from a Bitpanda report shows that the typical owner of crypto in the UK is likely to be a tech-savvy, highly educated middle-aged male adult with a high-income level.

Crypto Adoption by Age in the UK

Data from different research groups indicate that crypto adoption is heavily skewed towards the 34-54 years.

Age GroupAdoption Rate
18-3438%
34-5443.5%
55+20%
  • This differs greatly from global trends, which indicate that crypto adoption is dominated by young people in the 18-24 age bracket.

  • Results from the Finder report suggest that the 18-34 age group accounts for about 38 % of the overall ownership levels in the UK. The FCA report puts it at a moderate 31%. This is quite different from the global average, which puts the adoption level for this group at 56%.

  • The 34-54 age group dominates crypto adoption according to both FCA and Finder surveys. Both reports put the crypto dominance of this age band between 43.5%-47%. According to both reports, those aged 55+ came last with an average adoption rate of about 20%.

Cryptocurrency Adoption by Gender

8.3% of men in the UK own crypto assets. This is compared to 3.9% of women. Out of those who own crypto, 68% are likely to be men, while 38% are women.

The UK ranks 6th in male dominance in crypto ownership from the 27 countries in the survey.

Data from the FCA survey also reveals similar trends in crypto ownership. Results show that male dominance in crypto adoption stands at an overwhelming 79%.

UK Crypto Adoption by Income and Education

A report from online publication Triple A indicates that adoption levels are high among those with higher income.

  • Those who earned £200,000 and above accounted for over 40% of ownership. Individuals who earned between £100,000 - £200,000 accounted for 18%.

  • Ownership levels are high amongst individuals who are highly educated. They represent 21% adoption levels, while those with a secondary education accounted for 7%.

Sentiments About Cryptocurrency Adoption in the UK

Individual crypto investors in the UK spend less than £1000. According to the FCA survey, the average crypto owner spends about £260.

Crypto adoption in the UK appears to be receiving a boost, especially from the media. Data from the FCA shows that different forms of communication were driving crypto awareness.

Traditional media (TV and radio) led the way in informing the masses about cryptocurrencies. Online news, social media, friends or family, and online adverts followed in that order.

Crypto Adoption and Regulations in the UK

The lack of clear regulations has hampered crypto uptake in the UK. The possibility of fraudsters and rug pulls scare potential investors away.

The financial and tech industry has also been affected, considering the lack of a regulatory framework to develop and market crypto assets derivative products.

  • According to data from PYMYTS.com, 52% of multinational corporation executives have pointed to the lack of clarity in regulations as the major reason hampering crypto adoption.

However, 2022 looks to be the year when a legal framework is established, with stablecoins being accepted as an official form of payment.

What Next For Crypto Adoption in The UK Going into 2022?

During the lockdown periods in 2021, crypto apps such as Binance and Coinbase were among the top 10 downloaded apps. This is likely to continue into 2022 as more people seek ways to make passive income, driving crypto adoption even higher.

New products such as NFTs and the potential of the Metaverse are also likely to contribute to the interest and adoption of crypto in the UK. Crypto staking and borrowing are also likely to drive adoption levels.

NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. An NFT is a cryptographic tokens that are stored on the blockchain and cannot be copied, forged or replaced.

If lawmakers institute laws that bring clarity to the crypto industry, the crypto space is likely to develop exciting derivative products. This is likely to entice more people to adopt crypto.

Stephen Ngari

Stephen Ngari

Stephen is a seasoned crypto and fintech specialist with industry experience. Having worked in tech, helping people send money globally and rollout solutions, he understands the impact that tech like blockchain brings to real world issues. He is passionate about crypto, writing and basketball.