By Huw Jones

LONDON, June 17 (Reuters) – More people see crypto assets as
a mainstream investment rather than a “gamble” as ownership of
bitcoin and similar crypto currencies has risen to 2.3 millon
adults in Britain this year, the Financial Conduct Authority
said on Thursday.

Regulators have repeatedly warned consumers about the
“speculative” nature of largely unregulated crypto assets, with
bitcoin hitting a high of around $64,899 in April before a sharp
drop left it trading around at $39,344 on Thursday morning.

But people increasingly see crypto assets as a potential
investment, even though the level of understanding of the sector
is declining, the FCA said in its fourth study into crypto
assets ownership.

The number of UK adults owning crypto assets has risen
quickly from 1.9 million in 2020, the FCA said, adding that the
number of people who view them as a gamble fell to 38% from 47%
over the same period.

The average holding has risen to 300 pounds ($419.58) from
260 pounds, reflecting price rises, while ownership remains
skewed to professional men over 35 years old, the FCA said.

Enthusiasm is growing, with over half of crypto holders
saying they have had a positive experience so far and are likely
to buy more, the FCA said.

Sheldon Mills, the FCA’s executive director for consumers
and competition, said it was important for consumers to
understand that the assets are largely unregulated.

“If consumers invest in these types of products, they should
be prepared to lose all their money,” Mills said in a statement.

The latest survey also looked at stablecoins like Facebook’s
Diem for the first time. Stablecoins seek to avoid volatility by
being tied to an asset such as a currency.

Ownership of stablecoins is much lower, with 87% of crypto
users saying none of the crypto currencies they bought were

($1 = 0.7150 pounds)

(Reporting by Huw Jones;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)