It’s only natural that the massive run-up in bitcoin’s price should be accompanied by an explosion of online interest for the currency. Millions of people who had never heard of it before suddenly saw it soaring in value, and wanted to find out more. That’s why Google Trends has traditionally correlated well with the price of bitcoin.
After all, what do you do as a newcomer if you read about bitcoin and decide to buy some? You don’t have a clue where to start, so your first move is most likely to Google it. Armed with that information, you register with Coinbase or another major exchange, go through KYC, and a few days later (or perhaps weeks, if you take your time to think more carefully about it) you are the proud owner of your first bitcoins. So all things being equal, Google searches should pre-figure price movements.
That’s more or less what we found last year and this year. Google searches spiked in December and dropped off a cliff when the bubble burst, just like price. Google shows interest as a percentage of its maximum, rather than as absolute search numbers, but the picture is clear: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?q=bitcoin
The week before 17 December 2017 was the high for bitcoin searches, the same day that bitcoin hit its all-time high. Unfortunately, the page doesn’t give data more granular than a week, so we can’t tell precisely which day was the peak. But the date given is the last day of that week’s results, so we can say that the week leading up to the all-time high was the most active for searches – confirming the theory of interest leading price. Searches bottomed out in June and July, twice touching just 9 percent of their December high.
And what now? It’s a little early to say, but keep an eye on the Bitcoin Trends page, because it looks like interest might be just starting to pick up again.
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