When it comes to the question of who buys cryptocurrency, there are certain stereotypes that do hold up in reality.

Crypto owners tend to be perceived as young, male and high-income, and according to research conducted by Bitpanda and GlobalWebIndex, that is a correct assumption.  However, the field is seeing rising diversity.

The research, which focused on who buys cryptocurrency in Europe, found that the majority of European crypto owners are under 35, male and highly educated, with the majority working in high-income jobs at manager level or above.

They also typically work in the key financial centres in Europe, in jobs within IT, engineering or finance.

Who buys cryptocurrency? Not always who you might think

However, while the trends do match the stereotypes, the research also unearthed greater diversity than has previously been assumed.

While crypto owners have been previously thought to be 90% male, the survey found that one in five are women.

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There are also a greater percentage of older crypto owners than we might think, with 40% of those surveyed over 35.

Education is also more varied than might be expected. While a greater percentage of people who buy cryptocurrency are university educated than national averages, 54% do not have a university degree.

Those with a traditional approach to businesses may also be surprised to learn how powerful a group cryptocurrency owners are. 48% of Europeans who own cryptocurrency are business decision makers and 19% are senior decision-makers. 22% also have purchasing responsibilities.

The top European cities for crypto ownership

While there are crypto owners across Europe, purchasing cryptocurrency is a far more common activity in some areas than others.

At a country level, Switzerland and Austria lead the way, with 7% of internet users owning cryptocurrency. This is closely by Turkey and Romania, both at 6%.

However, at a city level, London leads with 11% of internet users owning crypto, despite only 4% owning some form of cryptocurrency in the UK as a whole. And when it comes to the top five crypto cities in Europe, financial centres certainly dominate.

Top five European crypto cities by ownership

1. London, UK 11% of internet users
2. Zürich, Switzerland 11% of internet users
3. Dublin, Ireland 8% of internet users
4. Vienna, Austria 7% of internet users
5. Stockholm, Sweden 7% of internet users

The psychology and interests of crypto owners

While there seems to be greater variation in who buys cryptocurrency than stereotypes suggest, there are common attitudes and world views among crypto owners in Europe. And notably, these attitudes do not seem to vary by gender.

“When it comes to attitudes, there’s very little difference between men and women,” said Jason Mander, chief research officer at GlobalWebIndex. “The slight differences pale when we compare cryptocurrency holders to the general public.”

The majority are unsurprisingly interested in business and technology, and have a greater inclination to take risks than the average person, with a love of novelty and a willingness to gamble.

Notably, while privacy is a concern for crypto owners, this is not notably more pronounced than the typical European.

What does mark those who buy cryptocurrency as distinct, however, is there willingness to do something about it: crypto owners are far more likely to be using VPNs or taking other actions to protect their online privacy.

Read more: China, blockchain and the crypto “double-edged sword”: Is the tide turning for cryptocurrency?