Investors ‘want a piece of the action’ with volatile cryptocurrency on the rise

Australians have spent more than $50.9m on cryptocurrency trading fees, with almost a quarter of the population now owning the digital currency, according to comparison website Finder.

The standard fee for buying Bitcoin is about 0.6 per cent of the purchase price if you spend less than $10,000, with some exchanges charging three per cent for each transaction.

Finder said it conservatively estimated Australians had spent more than $50.9m in fees trading cryptocurrency after a survey in July last year found the average investor had funnelled in $2078.

A recent survey of 1000 people found 23 per cent of respondents now owned cryptocurrency — up from 18 per cent in September.

One in six respondents – equivalent to about 3.5 million Australians – were planning to invest in cryptocurrency this year.

Finder head of consumer research Graham Cooke said Bitcoin was seen by many as the new “digital gold”.

“Investors of all ages want a piece of the action,” he said.

“Crypto enthusiasts are typically very savvy and see fees as a waste of money.”

In January 2016, the cost of one Bitcoin was $523 and it was now about $51,000.

It means if you had paid a $60 fee in 2016, the fee alone would be worth $5857 if it had instead been invested in Bitcoin.

Finder research further found that cryptocurrency was most popular among young people, with 29 per cent of Millennials planning to invest in the coming year.

While cryptocurrency was a volatile investment, it was quickly becoming mainstream, Mr Cooke added.

A recent cryptocurrency crash sparked by a sell-off of risk assets wiped more than $1.39 trillion off digital currencies.

Bitcoin recently plunged about 50 per cent after hitting an all-time high of $US69,000 ($A98,460) in November.

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