A study of how retail investors use cryptocurrency exchange apps suggests about three-quarters have lost money on Bitcoin, according to the Bank for International Settlements.

Data spanning 95 countries from 2015 to 2022 indicates the vast majority of app downloads occurred when Bitcoin’s price was above $20,000, the working paper from the Basel, Switzerland-based BIS says.

The analysis says if we assume each new user bought $100 of Bitcoin in the month they installed the app and each month thereafter, 81% would have lost money.

The study raises “questions about the implications of greater crypto adoption for the economy and consumer welfare,” the paper’s authors wrote.

Other findings from the BIS -- often referred to as the central bankers’ central bank -- included that some 40% of app users were men under 35 and that less than 35% of all users globally were female.

Bitcoin reached a high of almost $69,000 in November last year at the height of the pandemic-era speculative frenzy for digital coins stoked by ultra-low interest rates and stimulus cheques.

The world’s largest token has since plunged 75%, pressured by rapidly tightening monetary policy and a series of huge blowups at crypto outfits, most recently Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX exchange.

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.