Not so long ago, sandwiched somewhere in between the EU referendum and the coronavirus pandemic, bitcoin and cryptocurrencies briefly became the hottest global topic.
With prices soaring, many blindly took a punt, worried they would miss out on a chance for a quick and large profit – the only way was up and all that Yazz.
You heard overheard conversations about buying bitcoin, ripple, ethereum and more everywhere. It seemed everyone was piling in, young and old, with the hopes of turning hundreds or thousands of pounds into something more substantial.
Many subsequently had their fingers burnt – bitcoin prices fell from a peak of nearly $20,000 in December 2017 to $3,000 a year later, others saw their currency vanish, exchanges disappear, or were scammed.
Bitcoin boom? The FCA has provided a snapshot of crypto Britain
A lucky few, likely to have been involved when the price was low and the industry unknown, may have turned a handsome profit.
Fast forward to today and while cryptocurrencies remain niche, there is still plenty of interest around bitcoin and the like, with ways to buy it far easier than a few years ago.
And for those who managed to buy in at $3,000 a coin in that dip a year after the boom and held on, they would have witnessed the price triple.
We see comments dominated by two extreme camps: those who say bitcoin will race to $100,000, or even a $1million a coin in the next few years, and others saying it is a scam or casino-style gambling, with those getting involved having no idea what it is all about.
The Financial Conduct Authority has taken a keen interest in recent years and this week marked its annual report on the cryptocurrency, to reveal whether the interest in bitcoin has died down or continues to boom.
Consumer Trends dives into the statistics to see whether the fad is over, or if people are more interested than ever…
Who is a typical crypto holder?
Around 1.9million Britons own cryptocurrencies, according to the new data from the FCA – or nearly 4 per cent of the adult population.
These are people who actually ‘own’ a coin in a wallet, not have their money tracking the price.
A further 700,000 people have also held crypto at some point, or 5.35 per cent of Britons – up 2.35 percentage points on a year earlier.
That means more than one in 20 Britons have been tempted into dabbling in crypto at some point.
What about the price?
The price of bitcoin soared from $1,000 a coin in early 2017 to $20,000 by the end of the year.
A year later, it had fallen to $3,000.
Last summer, it managed a spell back over $10,000 a coin, it fell back to $6,000 in March and currently sits at around $9,000.
According to the study, 78 per cent of all people had heard of bitcoin.
The next most familiar? Libra, which hasn’t launched, followed by bitcoin cash, ether, bitcoin SV and litecoin – these were the only ones with a 10 per cent or more familiarity with the British public.
The data, which was gathered in December 2019,…