6th May 2022

The global crypto market is now worth more than USD$1.7 trillion but remains a risky business for investors. Regulations are being introduced in many countries including Australia, and a QUT researcher says they will be better received by consumers if they protect their freedom to buy cryptocurrency, rather than restrict who can buy crypto.

“Crypto is a digital asset which can be transferred without using an intermediary like a bank,” said Professor Brett Martin from QUT Business School.

“It’s a large and volatile market, and one that has generally existed without active government control and protection for investors. However, regulations are now being discussed or are emerging for crypto trading in the US, India, Australia, Russia, Hong Kong, Botswana and elsewhere.”

Professor Martin who studies crypto investor psychology is lead author of the paper Crypto freedom! Effects of trait reactance and regulation content on intention to buy cryptocurrency, which has just been published by the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

The research conducted with Polymeros Chrysochou (Aarhus University) and Carolyn Strong (Cardiff University) surveyed 566 people about investing in crypto.

The study found that how regulations are communicated to people affects their emotions.

“We found crypto regulations are not considered dry or boring by people,” said Professor Martin.

“They generate an emotional response - positive and negative - depending on whether the regulations protect or restrict a person's ability to invest in crypto.

“Our research focussed on people who value their personal freedom and react negatively to restrictions on it; what we call high trait reactance people. Trait reactance is an individual difference in reactance proneness which has been shown to offer insight into how people react to directives like anti-smoking advice, vaccination directives and, in this case, messages around crypto regulation.

“We found regulations that protect a person’s freedom to invest result in positive feelings. However, regulations that restrict freedom to invest in crypto, such as limiting crypto investment to professional investors with $1 million portfolios, generates anger. This shows the importance of considering the views of crypto investors and a person’s freedom to invest.” 

The project is the second in a series of crypto psychology projects being produced by the international team.

Read the full paper online at Crypto freedom! Effects of trait reactance and regulation content on intention to buy cryptocurrency - ScienceDirect

Media contact:

Amanda Weaver, QUT Media, 07 3138 3151, amanda.weaver@qut.edu.au

After hours: 0407 585 901, media@qut.edu.au

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