The Financial Conduct Authority, the UK's financial regulator/supervisor recently published an interesting report on how consumers behave in relation to crypto-assets: How and why consumers buy cryptoassets. To remind ourselves, crypto-assets are virtual, digital assets used for payment or investment purposes or both. This research fits well into the current EU efforts on regulating fintech services and products. We have reported earlier on the EU Commission's 2018 Action Plan on Fintech within which crypto-assets are of a special concern. More recently we have discussed ESMA's recommendation for a need for tailored regulation for the protection of consumers, buyers of crypto-assets.
The present research is focused on consumer behavior, on how consumers engage with crypto-assets. It is especially interesting to discover the profile of an 'average' fintech customer of crypto-assets and their ability to make informed decisions. The report answers questions such as why did consumers decide to buy crypto-assets, what sources of information they used to make their decisions, and how well in general they understand the market. As expected, this research seems to suggest crypto-assets are bought for investment purposes without fully understanding the risks involved in their decisions.
The report is an interesting and easy read with plenty of direct testimonies from consumers, and as such is highly recommended to our readers interested in consumer behavior and/or financial innovation.
In the future, it would be interesting to expand this research onto other areas of fintech services i.e. credit, insurance and payments to get a fuller picture of the fintech market structures and their consumers.