Encouraging and surprising results of the ECB study

Mixed signals are coming from the European Central Bank (ECB): recently, its president Christine Lagarde stated in an interview with Dutch television that in her “humble opinion”, cryptocurrencies are “worth nothing”. It is based on nothing – there is no security anchor, she added. Freedom of expression gives her the right to make such statements, but they are contradicted by statistical results.

It was precisely the ECB that commissioned a study that asked people about their crypto assets. According to this study, which is also based on data from Belgium, Italy and Spain, around 37 percent of those surveyed have crypto-assets worth an estimated 999 euros or less. For 29 percent it is between 1000 and 4999 euros and for 13 percent 5000 to 9999 euros. Only 6 percent had more than 30,000 euros. Owning Bitcoin & Co. is more popular in the Netherlands, with 14 percent of households, than in Germany, with around nine percent, and France, where it is only six percent.

While the ECB president is worried about people’s investment, the study has a clear result. In all countries, the top 20 per cent of the income pyramid was the most likely to buy crypto stocks. On average, younger men in the low-income bracket and better-educated citizens were more likely to be buyers of crypto-assets, it said. The middle class is more reluctant.

According to the ECB President, few people realise the risks associated with such investments. You can lose everything, and that is what governments have to prevent. In this context, however, it is important to bear in mind that classic forms of savings and investment are no longer attractive due to their lack of profitability. It is therefore only logical that educated high-income earners invest a small part of their assets and low-income earners are simply forced to take a higher risk in order to have any chance of returns.

The ECB, for its part, considers crypto-assets rather unsuitable for small investors and has called on the European Union to urgently issue new rules for these financial assets, because for most of them, supply and demand alone determine the price. The background to this: stablecoins, whose use as a means of payment or an investment of value is to be simplified. Exchange regulators, who have been wrestling for some time with rules for the cryptocurrency market worldwide, have repeatedly pointed out the risks to financial stability. Against the backdrop of the 2008 financial crisis, when no cryptocurrencies were in circulation far and wide, a somewhat hypocritical approach.

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