Given that the Wall St Journal recently reported that the world’s crypto market was valued at $2.4tn (£1.69tn) on 7 May, perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised that consumer website Boring Money reported that 9 per cent of customers on Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.), AJ Bell (AJB) and interactive investor also had cryptocurrency holdings.
Freetrade, a booming investing app with a younger client base, recently surveyed its customers and found that 44 per cent of them hold crypto elsewhere – the majority of whom are male and buy bitcoin or ethereum. Boosted by asset managers such as BlackRock, Fidelity and Ruffer, cryptocurrencies have entered the mainstream – even among UK investors.
The difficulty with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies – for me at least – is understanding what purpose they serve. There are two big problems with bitcoin as a currency: it is extremely volatile, making it a lousy unit of account, and its processing time is slow, leading to increasing transactional problems.