Marcus Swanepoel, chief executive of London-based cryptoasset intermediary Luno, said on Monday he believes nine out ten people who use bitcoin are using it for trading and speculation rather than payments.

While there’s little visibility in the crypto market and with China such a dominant player in liquidity terms, he still believes the bitcoin usage is dominated by those investing – either for short-term speculation or for long-term value.

“I think there’s split,” he said on CNBC's regular The Coin Rush slot. Swanepoel, whose company operates across 40 countries in developed and emerging economies, said:

Roughly about 90% I would put in the category of investment/speculation, and about 10% would be transactions – either ecommerce or remittances: people moving capital in and out of a country.

Long-Term View

He said a lot of people buying bitcoin are taking a long-term view on it – over 10 and even 20 years – and while some use it as a safe haven, that’s a minority when you compare it to gold. He added:

As an alternative investment, when you look at the potential upside and people start diversifying portfolios it does make sense putting a small amount of money into cryptocurrency. It could be high risk, but the returns could be astronomical.

There’s a lot more people using bitcoin now, he said. In the US and Europe and in Africa and South East Asia, and this all works together to affect the price.