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eToro logo (PRNewsfoto/eToro)

Social trading firm, eToro, whose subsidiary company, eToroX is licensed as a DLT Provider in Gibraltar, last month released the results of a survey that covered numerous aspects of cryptocurrency.

The survey was carried out by the company’s US operation who commissioned the market research company, Provoke Insight, to carry out the survey which studied the responses given by 1000 American on-line investors to the survey questions.

The research concluded that there is a clear demand for knowledge and education on crypto which currently is not being met. 69% of all the respondents – both those who held cryptocurrency and those who did not – said that they were interested in learning more about digital currency. Of the respondents who did not hold any cryptocurrency, 75% claimed that they were not knowledgeable about digital assets and half of these said that they felt held back from investing because of this lack of knowledge. Interestingly, 20% of those who did hold cryptocurrency replied that they, too, did not feel knowledgeable about digital assets.

While there were some gender divisions in how the respondents estimated their depth of knowledge of cryptocurrency, with 74% of women claiming they did not have any knowledge on cryptocurrency as opposed to 54% of men, 61% of both men and women expressed a wish to obtain greater in-depth information and training.

In terms of age groups, it may not be entirely surprising, but significantly 97% of millennials who responded to the survey expressed a wish to study cryptocurrency in greater depth. However, the survey did show that the bear market of 2018 has not dampened interest in cryptocurrency in general.

Furthermore, eToro reported that education about digital assets appears to influence the extent to which individuals become involved in the crypto markets. 44% of people who use the internet for online investing responded that they do not use cryptocurrency through lack of adequate understanding of it, while 40% of millennials claim not to invest in crypto specifically because of the scarcity of adequate education on digital assets.

Lack of knowledge among investors, while possibly to the advantage of the less scrupulous traders, is likely to lead to reticence in investing. There is also a danger that the lack of quality, readily accessible information, or education on cryptocurrencies provided by reputable educational establishments – schools, colleges, and universities – could lead to short term increases in investment and long term withdrawal as investors receive a mix of poor quality information and can “get their fingers burnt” through uninformed, risky investments. This could have a significant negative impact on the reputation and image of the crypto markets.

eToro’s MD, Guy Hirsch, said of the survey results: “Online investors are still keeping their eye on cryptocurrencies, but this survey revealed that there is a serious lack of educational resources available to those who would like to invest in or learn more about crypto. As we move toward a future where assets will become increasingly tokenized, it’s important to give investors access to the resources they need to invest in the assets they want and truly consider crypto assets as part of their long-term investment plan.”

Setting the results of this survey into a local context, this into sharp relief the work of the Government of Gibraltar in partnership with the University of Gibraltar through the joint initiative New Technologies in Education group. This advisory group is collaborating with local private sector firms to address the growing demand for skills and knowledge that has been identified in Gibraltar.

The University has publicly stated a commitment to developing and enhancing expertise in the technologies associated with crypto – blockchain, DLT, coding, smart contracts and so on – and is already scheduling a Professional Certificate of Competence in this area. Meanwhile, the Gibraltar Government’s Department of Education will be looking to improve the ways in which young people in school learn about all forms of digital technology.

Education as well as regulation is enhancing Gibraltar’s standing as a global  hub for new technologies and the cryptocurrency movement.