China BTC Volume on LocalBitcoins Hits 2-Year Low, Baidu Searches Dwindle

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LocalBitcoins is showing its lowest volume in China in two years. Volume for the popular marketplace hovered at around 4.5 million yuan for the week of Jan 25. This has coincided with a drop in Bitcoin’s search volume on the Chinese search engine, Baidu, which has also hit a new low over the past 30 days.

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LocalBitcoins, the prominent P2P marketplace for digital assets, is seeing its lowest weekly volume in two years, with a trading volume of around $4.5 million yuan, or about $6.5 million.

Image courtesy of LocalBitcoins

It is quite difficult to ascertain the specific reasons as to why volumes have dropped off. Primarily, China has shown an increasingly lenient stance towards digital assets over the past year, especially considering that it banned ICOs in 2017, which proved to be quite ineffective. Even more recently, China shut down over 173 cryptocurrency exchanges.

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Secondly, exchanges in China have increasingly begun to offer more features. Binance announced last year that it would accept fiat payments through AliPay and WeChat Pay, only one of many such examples of increasing exchange sophistication that is aiming to hold a very lucrative market.

LocalBitcoins saw its highest volumes, predictably, during late 2017 and early 2018 when Bitcoin reached its all-time high price. On average over the past year, volumes have been steady between 20-30 million yuan per week.

Bitcoin Search Volumes on Baidu

Simultaneously, LongHash reported that Bitcoin search volumes on China’s search engine, Baidu, are at a new monthly low.

Search engine search volumes and social media sentiment are two popularly-used indicators of judging price movement and have a seemingly strong correlation.

Searches for Bitcoin on both Google and Baidu peaked during the bull run of late-2017, as more fresh investors entered the market, curious about the emerging asset.

Image courtesy of LongHash

Citizens Experiencing More Pressing Concerns

It’s impossible to say with certainty why the volume has dropped to such a low level. There are a number of factors that could be at play here. One possible reason for the reduction in search volumes, at least, is the fact that China is undergoing a grave public health situation with the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Reports from inside the city of Wuhan have shown citizens to be taking extreme cautions to prevent infection and it would not be surprising if citizens from other areas of China are similarly holding this to be of the highest concern. It is also the beginning of the Lunar New Year, which could be another reason for low volumes as people normally take time off to spend with family and friends.

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Rahul's cryptocurrency journey first began in 2014. With a postgraduate degree in finance, he was among the few that first recognized the sheer untapped potential of decentralized technologies. Since then, he has guided a number of startups to navigate the complex digital marketing and media outreach landscapes. His work has even influenced distinguished cryptocurrency exchanges and DeFi platforms worth millions of dollars.

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