The majority (71 per cent) of institutional investors expect to add digital assets to their investment portfolios within the next five years, according to a new survey by Fidelity Digital Assets.

The survey, which polled 1,100 investors, asset managers and financial advisors in Asia, Europe and the U.S., found 52 per cent of respondents said they’re already invested in digital assets. This is up from 36 per cent in the 2020 survey and 22 per cent in 2019.

Interest in the asset class varies significantly by region. In Europe, about a third (33 per cent) of respondents were currently investors, up six percentage points from the previous year’s study. In the U.S., more than half (52 per cent) were already invested, up seven percentage points from the previous year’s study. And in Asia, 71 per cent of surveyed investors said they’re invested in the asset class. Asia-based investors were not surveyed in the 2020 study.

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While American and European investors are less likely to already be invested in digital assets, the study found interest in the asset class crosses borders, with about 90 per cent of respondents indicating they found its characteristics appealing.

“The increased interest and adoption we’re seeing is a reflection of the growing sophistication and institutionalization of the digital assets ecosystem,” said Tom Jessop, president of Fidelity digital assets services, in a press release. “The pandemic — and fiscal and monetary measures in response to it ⁠— has been a catalyst for many institutional investors to define their investment thesis and operationalize it.”

The survey also found, despite growing interest in digital assets, some investors are still cautious. More than half (63 per cent) of survey respondents said they’d like to see a custodian offer electronic trading in the asset class. And more than half (56 per cent) also expressed a desire to see more research and analysis material available about digital assets.

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