THE number of Australians who own cryptocurrency has nearly tripled since the start of the year despite the market crashing from its peak at the height of crypto-mania in December.
A survey of 2000 people by Finder-backed brokerage firm HiveEx round 13.5 per cent owned crypto in August, compared with just 5 per cent when the same study was conducted in January.
It comes after the price of bitcoin plunged by nearly this week to around following reports Goldman Sachs was backing away from plans to launch a cryptocurrency trading desk.
“Crypto bulls are feeling the doom and gloom,” ThinkMarkets chief market analyst Naeem Aslam said in a note. “The price of bitcoin is threatening this year’s low once again () and this isn’t a good sign at all.”
The 13 per cent decline dragged down the rest of the crypto market, with the total market capitalisation of more than 1900 digital currencies tracked by Coinmarketcap falling by about billion.
Bitcoin had rallied slightly to at the time writing after Goldman Sachs chief financial officer Martin Chavez dismissed the reports as “fake news”.
Mr Chavez was reported by CNBC as telling a tech conference in San Francisco the investment bank was still working on a bitcoin derivative because “clients want it”.
According to the HiveEx study, 50 per cent of those who held crypto did so as an investment, 34 per cent blamed FOMO and 26 per cent said they were using it to save for retirement. More than a third said they were planning to pay their tax bill with crypto.
While 80 per cent of respondents said they would use cryptocurrency regularly for day-to-day purchases if it was as easy to use as Australian dollars, the study found many were still wary.
Of those who don’t own any digital currencies, 65 per cent said it was because they didn’t understand or it was too difficult to use. More than one in five said they thought it was a scam. The same number said it was a bubble.
Last month, Finder co-founder Fred Schebesta revealed his plan to create the “first crypto bank of Australia”. Mr Schebesta said the interest now was actually “so much higher” than during bitcoin’s manic rise in 2017.
“Just because the price of bitcoin has gone down and people feel angry, that doesn’t reduce the interest,” he said. “The interest has boomed.”