Cryptocurrency has become a global phenomenon in recent years, althouh much is still to be learned about this virtual currency. There are many concerns and worries swirling around the crypto and its capacity to disrupt traditional financial systems.

In light of the above, Toluna, an international online market research company, conducted a global study to understand consumers’ perceptions around cryptocurrency. interviewed 9,000 people between the ages of 18 and 64 from four regions and 17 countries, including the UAE. The study showed that the overall outlook for investing in cryptocurrency in the UAE, is much stronger than globally, whereas the former scored 78 per cent in net per cent change of investors expecting to increase the proportion allocated to investible assets for cryptocurrency investment vs globally: 67 per cent.

Sakina Mannan, senior account director MEA at Toluna said: “Despite the relatively cautious attitude towards investing in cryptocurrencies, the overall outlook in the UAE shows investors tend to embrace the global trend towards this type of investment. As per the study indications and the strategic business outlook in the country, it’s likely that we’ll be seeing growing interest towards cryptocurrencies in the UAE.”

The study indicated that in the UAE a higher proportion of investable assets, 25 per cent, is to be allocated to crypto, compared to 20 per cent globally and 18 per cent of Emiratis plan to invest in this financial product. The study also indicated that 55 per cent of investors in the UAE are familiar with digital currencies compared to 60 per cent globally, which is close, while 17 per cent find digital currencies a low risk investment compared to 33 per cent in global markets.

Respondents currently not investing in crypto view cryptocurrency as risky and volatile, with fear of the associated risk (43 per cent) and an overall lack of understanding of cryptocurrency (38 per cent) recorded as the main reason why they are hesitating to invest in cryptocurrency and there is no difference between the UAE and global results.

Despite the low level of confidence in investing in cryptocurrencies in the UAE (18 per cent vs. 23 per cent globally), 50 per cent of respondents said it was on an upward trend compared to 45 per cent globally and only 11 per cent reported that it was just a soon-to-be-disappearing hype, compared to 17 per cent globally.

Furthermore, 36 per cent of UAE residents believe that cryptocurrency is an ongoing project without any guarantee of success (compared to 45 per cent globally). Another interesting insight from the survey is that in the UAE crypto is more likely to be treated as a currency, while globally it is perceived as a form of investment.

The study concluded that investors in the UAE are satisfied with their financial situation and are generally willing to risk their money compared to the global average, so it is not surprising that 46 per cent of participants believe that possible short-term investments are the main driver for cryptocurrency investment. While long-term and short-term growth are equally important as investment drivers at the global level, short-term investments are a greater catalyst for UAE investors.

In addition to the UAE, the survey included Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Philippines, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, US, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Brazil. 

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