Revealed: How many UAE residents want to invest in cryptocurrency

Dubai - Younger Emiratis are much more bullish about exposure to crypto assets than Western expats

By Staff report

Published: Wed 19 May 2021, 8:47 AM

The relatively volatile history of cryptocurrencies to-date has not dampened appetite in the UAE for these assets, according to a Holborn Assets survey.

In particular, roughly one in four – 26 per cent – of the 1,000-plus respondents view these assets as offering “exciting investment opportunities”, and 45 per cent seeking more education before they invest.

Reflecting this relatively robust demand, 44 per cent of the 830 respondents to a question on asset allocation said they would feel comfortable with over 5 per cent of their investment portfolio invested in cryptocurrencies in 2021.

"There is clearly growing demand for this new and enticing asset class, especially given the returns it can potentially offer investors," said Stefan Terry, Global Senior Partner in the UAE office of Holborn Assets.

"The survey results also highlight the strong interest locally in more education about cryptocurrencies as a precursor for making portfolio allocations," added Terry.

Age and nationality create demographic divide

Conducted by YouGov, the differences in survey responses across different sections of society in the UAE are particularly noteworthy.

For instance, 18-24 year olds are the most bullish on cryptocurrencies, with a third of respondents considering them to be “exciting investment opportunities”, compared with 17 per cent in the 45+ age group.

Meanwhile, only 10 per cent of the youngest age group wants these assets to be heavily regulated, versus 17 per cent for older investors. And while just 12 per cent of young respondents consider crypto assets to be a fad, this rises to 20 per cent among the 45 year olds and above.

There are also some striking trends in terms of nationality. For example, Emiratis are the keenest group to invest in cryptocurrencies, at 33 per cent, compared with Arab expats (23 per cent), Asian residents (24 per cent) and Westerners (19 per cent).

This is consistent at the other end of the spectrum; only seven per cent of Emirati want crypto assets to be heavily regulated, whereas nearly one in four Western expats (24 per cent) who responded to the survey chose this option.

There is also a marked gap in comfort levels among UAE investors when buying crypto assets. A third of Emirati respondents, for instance, said a 5-10 per cent allocation would suit them, with 19 per cent opting for a 0-2 per cent holding.

For Western expats, by contrast, 51 per cent of respondents said they would only allocate 0-2 per cent to cryptocurrencies, and just 14 per cent would be comfortable with a 5-10 per cent allocation.


More news from UAE