Despite plenty of market drama from within the cryptocurrency industry, it seems the general public is not yet taking notice. Google Trends data shows that the number of searches for terms like “Bitcoin,” “Ethereum,” and “crypto” is much lower than it was in late-2017.
Ongoing civil unrest around the world may explain the lack of public interest. Another cause may be the fact that Bitcoin (BTC) price remains below its all-time high. Meanwhile, other data sources, both on-chain and anecdotal, suggest that increased numbers of wealthier investors are moving into the market.
Google Searches Around Crypto Suggest Retail Investors Aren’t Watching
Google searches for words relating to cryptocurrency are currently well below their late-2017 levels. Bloomberg Digital editor, Joe Weisenthal, highlighted this in a tweet:
For all the hype about cryptocurrencies this year, it's clear that the general public is just way less interested than back in 2017 pic.twitter.com/rveWlglqi6
— Joe Weisenthal (@TheStalwart) September 23, 2020
For those watching the industry closely, the lack of public interest might come as a surprise. After all, Bitcoin price has appreciated by around 50% since the start of the year and the explosion of DeFi has allowed prices of newer digital currencies to soar.
Yet, Google searches remain much lower than in the run up to the 2017 market peak.
The Black Thursday market crash may also have put retail investors off. BeInCrypto recently featured data from OKEx Insights that suggested retail investor-sized bitcoin transactions fell sharply around BTC’s most recent plunge below $4,000.
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The same report suggests that market volatility and recent consolidation over $10,000 have coincided with an increase in the number of larger Bitcoin transactions. The report’s authors speculate that this may be evidence of increased institutional buying.
That narrative would fit well with recent anecdotal evidence, too. BeInCrypto has reported on several stories of companies and high net worth individuals investing heavily in Bitcoin this year.
First, legendary hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones admitted holding BTC. Then, Canadian restaurant Tahinis converted its entire cash reserves to bitcoin. Finally, Microstrategy CEO, Michael Saylor, became an instant legend in the industry for his massive purchases of BTC using company money.
Meanwhile, Google Trends shows that searches for “DeFi” have been growing over the course of the year. However, they remain much lower than either “Bitcoin” or “Ethereum.” This suggests that most of the interest in the still-young niche is coming from within the cryptocurrency industry itself.
Will it Take a New Bitcoin All-Time High to Attract Main Street?
Apart from a spike of interest during last summer’s run towards $14,000, Google interest in Bitcoin has remained reasonably constant since the 2017 top. A similar sideways trend can be seen in searches from 2016. Like in 2019, there was a spike of interest. It too coincided with the increasing prices.
Google interest in Bitcoin during the last bull market started really increasing in March/April, 2017. This coincided with the surpassing of the then-all-time high of around $1,125.
It continued to increase throughout the year with the Google Trends all-time high occurring the same week as Bitcoin price topped close to $20,000. Given the similarities this time around, retail investors may need to see BTC to break its former high price point before the cryptocurrency is back on their radar.