MOST owners of cryptocurrency in this country are under the age of 34, a survey has found.
lose to half a million people in the State now own bitcoin or some other form of cryptocurrency, a survey by Australian price comparison site Finder.com indicates.
The research comes after bitcoin, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency, recently lost over 30pc of its value since hitting a record high in November.
However, the surge in US inflation to 7pc has contributed to a recovery in prices from a two-month long downward trend.
Central bankers and other experts have repeatedly warned about huge volatility in the values of cryptocurrencies.
The Finder.com survey of 1,529 Irish internet users found that cryptocurrency adoption is strong in Ireland.
An estimated 456,000 people in this country owned cryptocurrency in December.
This represents 12pc of Irish adult internet users, and is up from 8pc in October.
Some 51pc of owners of the digital currencies are between the ages of 18 and 34.
Around 38pc of those between the ages of 34 and 54 are estimated to own crypto, with just 10pc of the over 55s owning a virtual currency.
Ireland ranks 20th for cryptocurrency ownership out of the 27 countries included in the study. Finder.com surveyed 1,529 Internet users in Ireland in December.
Bitcoin is still the most popular coin to have, followed by ethereum and dogecoin and XRP.
The report reveals around a quarter of Irish adults think cryptocurrency is a good investment – well below the global average of 43pc.
Some 64pc of Irish adults know what cryptocurrencies are, compared with 85pc in Australia.
More men than women in this country own bitcoin and the likes.
The values of different cryptocurrencies have been subject to extreme volatility lately, and periodic buying frenzies have been spurred by surges in the value of digital currencies.
This week’s US inflation figures, which were at a 40-year high, saw bitcoin climb above $44,000 (€38,4000) for the first time in a week.
Some argue that cryptocurrency is a hedge against rising consumer prices.
In the past few months the price has been as high as $70,000 and as low as $40,000.
The Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) recently warned about a rise in cryptocurrency investment scams.
Cryptocurrencies are digital assets designed to be a medium of exchange. Ownership is stored in a computerised database using strong cryptography. The supply of crypto is not controlled by central banks.
The growth of interest in this country in buying into cryptocurrencies comes despite warnings from the Central Bank of Ireland that the investment trend is akin to tulip mania.
The head of the Bank of England has also cautioned that those who buy cryptocurrencies should be prepared to lose everything.
Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland Gabriel Makhlouf has said he would not invest in the digital currencies.
Last month the Bank of England said that bitcoin could be “worthless” and people investing in the digital currency should be prepared to lose everything.
In a warning over the potential risks for investors, the central bank questioned whether there was any inherent worth in the most prominent digital currency.
The market capitalisation of crypto assets has grown tenfold since early 2020 to about $2.6tn (€2.27tr), representing about 1pc of global financial assets.