One in four students owns cryptocurrency, new study finds

With crypto fever once again making headlines, a new study reveals that a quarter of students in the UK currently own cryptocurrency.

Students have not been put off crypto by its recent extreme ups and downs and many remain confident in its long term future as a store of value. The study of over 24,000 UK students, conducted by UNiDAYS, found that 24% now own some form of the digital asset, with a further third intending to buy within the next 3 months. The most popularly owned cryptocurrency currently is Bitcoin (26%), followed by Dogecoin (11%), Ethereum (10%) and Ripple (3%).

Almost half (40%) of those surveyed believe that cryptocurrency will replace traditional currency within the next 10 years and 43% thinking that retailers should have the option to pay with cryptocurrency, 1 in 10 say that they have already paid for goods or services with it.

However, despite crypto’s popularity, many Gen Zers remain unconvinced. Following Elon Musk’s announcement that Tesla will no longer accept Bitcoin due to environmental concerns around mining, 40% of Gen Z agree that digital currency is bad for the environment. Around a third (37%) even believe cryptocurrencies are a scam.

Gen Z is embracing investing in general. In the past 12 months, half of those surveyed have put money into either cryptocurrency (16%), ISAs (16%) or stocks & shares (17%). A small amount (1%) have even invested in alternative digital assets like NFTs (Non Fungible Tokens).

Students are realistic about their investments and not looking for get rich quick schemes. Only 1 in 10 say they expect fast financial returns on their investments. This is because Gen Z are overwhelmingly risk averse. Of those who invest, just 8% class themselves as high risk investors, while 47% avoid risk as much as possible. The remaining 45% admit they are comfortable with just moderate risk. This approach has mostly protected them from making substantial losses and, for around a third, has helped them to make money – 34% claim they’ve made at least some profit in the past 12 months, 43% are more or less event but an unlucky 23% claim to have lost money.

Josh Rathour, CEO at UNiDAYS, said: “The study busts the myth that today’s young people are reckless with their money. Gen Z are generally more careful and thoughtful with their financial choices than many give them credit for and are both sensible investors and conscious consumers. Cryptocurrency markets may be extremely volatile now, but our results show that many Gen Zers see its long term potential as an alternative and more democratic value system. The fact that many of them want retailers to accept crypto as payment is food for thought for brands looking to connect with Gen Z.”