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Bitcoin, ether, litecoin… 1 in 10 European households has invested in cryptocurrencies

About one in ten European households have invested in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, according to a study by the European Central Bank published on Tuesday, underlining the appetite for these highly risky investments, which have suffered this month from a spectacular plunge in prices.

These new assets attract individuals, including in the modest social strata, but are worthless and do not rest on any haven of security, warned Sunday the president of the monetary institute, Christine Lagarde. Up to 10% of households could own cryptocurrencies in the euro zone, according to the study conducted by the ECB in six major countries – Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Italy and the Netherlands. The proportion varies according to the countries studied, between 6% in France, 9% in Germany and nearly 15% in the Netherlands.

Most private investors reported holding less than 5000euros of cryptoassets, with a slight predominance of modest assets, i.e. less than 1,000 euros. At the other end, about 6% confirmed having invested more than 30,000 euros.

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Another lesson: if high-income households are more likely to hold cryptocurrencies, low-income households also have them and in a higher proportion than middle-income households. the typical investor profile: a young man with a high level of education and knowledge of the financial sphere.

This study, included in the semi-annual report on financial stability which will be published on Wednesday, comes as the ECB recently pleaded for global regulation of this young sector presenting a risk for household finances in particular.

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Despite yo-yo developments in the market, the global market capitalization of cryptoassets reached more than 2.5 trillion euros at the end of 2021, seven times more than a year earlier. The dynamics of the sector mean that there are now more than 16,000 cryptoassets in circulation, with ten new ones launched each day on average, according to the study.

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