Launching in Lockdown: embraces the demand for alternative investments

X The Business Desk

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Launching a new business during the first wave of lockdown, the odds appeared to be stacked against Matthew Dixon and the Founders.

In times of economic uncertainty would people be brave enough to explore alternative investments in cryptocurrency or would they stick to tried and tested routes?

The answer to Matt Dixon’s relief has been a resounding ‘yes’ as Evai has sailed past its initial funding target thanks to the phenomenal support of early investors that have rallied behind the innovative cryptocurrency ratings business.

And now, as the Bank of England debates negative interest rates and the second wave of coronavirus begins to break across the region, believes this era of uncertainty will ultimately drive the UK to new heights of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency adoption as a hedge against inflation.

In the midst of economic transformation, the digital asset investment space has been one of the few sectors that has rallied to a position of strength, thanks largely to growing regulation of the sector and increased consumer interest in investment diversification.

A recent report published this summer by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), revealed the number of UK consumers buying crypto assets has increased by almost a third in the last 12 months. It is this growth which has seen The FCA and UK Government launch new measures to enable both consumers and businesses to navigate and benefit from this asset class with increased assurance.

According to Mode Banking it’s not just young investors who are taking interest. Since lockdown was implemented in March, research by Mode shows that both Gen Z and Baby Boomers have been buying more crypto assets.

It’s perhaps unsurprising that a financial asset which is not impacted by the printing of money (Quantitative Easing) is becoming increasingly popular as there are only ever a finite amount of most cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. The limited supply of Bitcoin capped at 21m is one of the major reasons it has become particularly attractive – especially when you look at the growth margins since its inception in 2009.

Since Bitcoin launched the price valuation has gone from a modest $0.08 for a single coin in July 2010 to the heights of $20,000 in late 2017. More recently during the coronavirus crisis, the price dropped as low as $4,000 but has since recovered to testing it’s valuation between $11,000- $12,000. In recovering its price and following the recovery of the S&P 500 and gold it has further stated its case as a safe haven asset in the near future. The bold investment decision of US company MicroStrategy highlights this point as they purchased a total of $425m worth of Bitcoin over the last two months. MicroStrategy CEO Michael J. Saylor commented: “It reflects our belief that Bitcoin, as the world’s most widely adopted cryptocurrency, is a dependable store of value and an attractive investment asset with more long-term appreciation potential than holding cash”.

The adoption of cryptocurrencies is not only happening amongst consumers and a handful of businesses, recognised global financial brands are also switching on to the opportunities it provides.

Recently payment processor Visa announced plans to work with the leading cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase to offer customers in 29 markets the chance to utilise a new debit card service, which allows users to debit against their balances of 10 leading cryptocurrency assets.

Visa stated recently in a blog post. “We believe that digital currencies have the potential to extend the value of digital payments to a greater number of people and places. As such, we want to help shape and support the role they play in the future of money.”

Joining Visa in a movement leaning towards cryptocurrency adoption Paypal has been part of a consultation process with the European Commission (EC) providing their feedback and guidance on the building of a framework for markets in crypto assets. The arrival of PayPal on the cryptocurrency scene could see its 325m global users being offered cryptocurrency related services in the near future.

What this means is that the environment is creating a perfect storm for cryptocurrencies. Regulators are paying close attention to the sector in order to properly police it, established businesses are looking to embrace the technology and consumers are not only interested but able to readily access it.

Speaking recently at a webinar with Jonathan Thompson, founder and CEO of B-North highlighted what the perfect storm means, saying, ““It’s almost a virtuous circle of adoption, regulation and confidence which ultimately drives uptake in new financial innovations.”

Matt Dixon, CEO and Founder of, a pioneering UK cryptocurrency ratings business, has experienced the trend first hand as the company accelerated past its first million pound investment target within three months. He said: “Starting our initial investment rounds at the time coronavirus first hit we were initially apprehensive, but the appetite we have seen from investors has been remarkable. The uncertain economic climate has acted as a trigger for people to research and commit funds to viable alternatives as part of a diverse investment portfolio.”

He added that the business is “working closely with the UK’s FCA to support their regulation of the sector” and that it is “seeing strong growth from tech and financial businesses who want to capitalise on the speed and cost benefits of utilising crypto payments”.

Dixon, who has spent his 30 year career in the finance sector believes that now is the time for businesses to embrace the transition from traditional paper money to digital assets. Adding that unlike fiat currency (traditional money), crypto assets can’t be devalued through the printing of more, which is often a root cause for a rise in inflation.

But in order to get to a new world where digital currencies are as accepted as the coins and notes in your wallet what needs to be done? The simple answer is education.

Dixon concludes, “Businesses and consumers need to be able to navigate the hype around alternative investments and make informed decisions and that’s where we believe can play a vital role. Our ultimate objective is to use the latest academic theory along with artificial intelligence and machine learning to create a reliable and trusted way of ranking the thousands of cryptocurrencies on the market to help people make empowered decisions.”

So will the 2020’s see more businesses, consumers and nations move towards digital assets as they enter their second decade of existence, only time will tell. The one question we must really ask ourselves is can we really afford to keep making the same financial mistakes and expect different results? The time has come to seriously explore the innovative alternatives of cryptocurrency and blockchain that are shaping the future of the new financial world before UK investors and businesses get left behind.