Crypto is king with Gen Zs in the UAE, with a new report indicating that young investors in the country have an appetite for digital currencies, even as traditional investments like gold retains its sheen for Asias and local Emiratis.

According to findings of a new survey by the International Financial Group Ltd (IFGL), an advisory firm based in the Isle of Man, UAE residents between the ages of 18 and 24 years have been increasingly investing in cryptocurrencies as an ideal way to generate inflation-beating returns.

The report found that one in ten UAE residents favoured digital currencies, with the greatest interest coming from Emiratis. Cryptocurrencies also proved more appealing to males (12%) than females (6%).

Male respondents also favoured investments in properties, commodities, and fixed-rate deposits, while females favouring national bonds as well.

Investments in mutual funds were on equal par with crypto, coming in just ahead of those who preferred exchange-traded funds (9%).

However, traditional investments such as gold continued to hold strong, leading the findings as the most preferred investment by Emiratis and Asians, with property investments holding jointly holding the number one spot, both at 24%.

“Some UAE investors are clearly pursuing risky strategies whereas they should be building a diverse portfolio of assets with different risk and return profiles,” said Simon Barwell, IFGL’s Marketing Director. “Cryptocurrencies have a history of volatility while property is an illiquid investment, so UAE investors should be thinking about equities and bonds too, both locally and overseas. A balanced strategy is the key to long-term wealth accumulation.”

Age also influenced investment preferences with expats between 35 and 44 years preferring to put their money down for properties in their home country, while 25- to 34-year-olds opted for buying property in the UAE.

Individuals aged 45 years and up showed less interest in cryptocurrencies and ETFs, with IPOs least favoured overall.

(Writing by Bindu Rai, editing by Daniel Luiz)