Irish people were found to be the most "crypto curious" among 20 countries surveyed for a detailed report paid for by the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange, which is run by the billionaire Winklevoss twins from the United States.
The company’s latest research for its Global State of Crypto report surveyed about 1,700 people from Ireland, among almost 30,000 across 20 countries including the United Kingdom, the US, Germany, France, Norway, Kenya, South Africa, Australia, India and Israel.
The report’s authors define “crypto curious” as people who are willing to countenance buying or learning more over the next 12 months about cryptocurrencies, which include bitcoin and ethereum.
Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies derived from computer code and are not formally regulated as currencies by any central bank. But they can be used for payment for many goods and services online, and are convertible back into state currencies.
The industry report suggested that 58 per cent of Irish respondents are “crypto curious”, well ahead of the international average of about 50 per cent and the highest among all countries surveyed. Ireland was followed by Germany at 53 per cent, Colombia at 50 per cent and the UK at 49 per cent.
It found that 18 per cent, or fewer than a fifth, of Irish respondents owned cryptocurrency. That was in line with other developed economies but far behind the rate of ownership claimed in countries such as Brazil, where inflation has long been a major concern for savers.
The majority of Irish cryptocurrency owners, more than 60 per cent, are men but the majority of those said by Gemini to be “curious” about it are women.
Gemini says the average Irish crypto owner is aged 36 and earns between €26,000 and €65,000. The report’s authors suggested that, globally, inflation worries are driving interest in cryptocurrencies.
Meanwhile, sceptics of cryptocurrencies, such as Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, have derided the sector as a “ponzi scheme”, a stance that has been rejected by crypto investors.
Gemini was founded in 2014 by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who are well known for having sued Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in a row over the founding of the social media network.
Gemini is an exchange that allows users to trade and hold cryptocurrencies. It has an e-money fintech licence from the Central Bank of Ireland, although the currencies themselves are not backed up by any central bank.