Pile of cryptocurrency coins
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Investor awareness and ownership of cryptoassets is on the rise, according to new research from the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The regulator’s latest research into retail crypto ownership finds that the number of people who own crypto is up by about 21% from last year, and the share of respondents who have heard of crypto has increased too.

The FCA also found that attitudes toward cryptoassets are changing as their consumer penetration has increased.

Its latest consumer research finds that the proportion of investors who view crypto as a gamble is down from just under half (47%) last year to 38% this year.

Increasingly, investors see crypto “as either a complement or alternative to mainstream investments,” it noted.

The FCA said investor enthusiasm for cryptoassets is growing too, with over half of crypto users (53%) reporting they’ve had “a positive experience so far and are likely to buy more,” up from 41% last year.

“Fewer people also regret having bought cryptocurrencies,” it said, with those with regrets down from 15% to 11%.

“The research highlights increased interest in cryptoassets among U.K. customers,” said Sheldon Mills, executive director, consumers and competition, at the FCA. “The market has continued to grow, and some investors have benefitted as prices have risen.”

“However it is important for customers to understand that because these products are largely unregulated that if something goes wrong they are unlikely to have access to [compensation],” he added. “If consumers invest in these types of products, they should be prepared to lose all their money.”

The FCA found that most consumers recognize that crypto investments are not protected, but that 12% of crypto owners believe they are covered by financial sector safeguards.