Limited information on the exposures of Swedish households to cryptoassets
Ownership of most cryptoassets such as Bitcoin is fundamentally anonymous and data availability is low. All transactions on the blockchain are public, however, and it is relatively easy to see between which electronic wallets a transaction has passed. It is however complicated to trace an electronic wallet to a particular individual. The degree of exposure to cryptoassets of Swedish households is therefore difficult to determine.
However, there is some information that can be used. When cryptoassets are sold, the gain should be taxed in the same way as for other financial assets. The Swedish Tax Agency has therefore obtained some information on cryptoasset ownership. As of June 2021 around 3,000 people had declared their gains on cryptoassets. J. Ohlin (2021), “Få skattar på kryptotillgångar – stort mörkertal” [Few pay tax on cryptoassets – Numerous undeclared cases], 4 June 2021, SVT Nyheter. In a survey by the Swedish Internet Foundation, 3 per cent of respondents stated that they had bought or sold some kind of cryptoasset in the past year. The Swedes and the Internet, 2021, The Swedish Internet Foundation.
Also, there are a number of Swedish firms that provide platforms for buying and selling cryptoassets. One of these is Goobit, which provides the platform BTCX on which the cryptoassets Bitcoin and Ethereum can be bought. Goobit has reported that it has approximately 200,000 customers, most of whom are Swedish. J. Ohlin (2021), “Få skattar på kryptotillgångar – stort mörkertal” [Few pay tax on cryptoassets – Numerous undeclared cases], 4 June 2021, SVT Nyheter. Another firm is Safello, which enables buying the cryptoassets Bitcoin, Ethereum, Chainlink, Polkadot and Polygon. In its 2021 annual report Safello reported that, since 2013, it has had 250,000 customers. Safello (2022), “Annual Report Safello Group AB 2021”, annual report. [online] Available at: Financial Reports | Safello. Probably a large proportion of these are Swedes as Safello only offers cryptoasset purchases in Swedish kronor and euro.
For various financial instruments that have cryptoassets as the underlying asset, some information is available. In 2020, FI performed a stocktake of the Swedish tracker certificate market. The stocktake is based on survey responses from Swedish investment firms and data from FI’s transaction reporting system. It showed that around 35,000 Swedes at most have had holdings in financial instruments with cryptoassets as the underlying asset. Financial instruments with cryptoassets as underlying asset, FI Supervision Report no. 21, February 2021, Finansinspektionen.
The firm Chainalysis has developed an index tracking the cryptoasset holdings and cryptoasset activity in different countries, with a focus on private individuals. Chainalysis (2021), “The 2021 Geography of Cryptocurrency Report: Analysis of Geographic Trends in Cryptocurrency Adoption and Usage”, October 2021, Chainalysis. Cryptoasset holdings and activity are particularly high in developing countries such as Vietnam, which has been assigned a high index value. Sweden is considered to have a relatively low index value, which means that, comparatively, Swedes do not have particularly high cryptoasset holdings nor cryptoasset activity.