Interest in Bitcoin down to two-year low

Key Takeaways

Google search data for Bitcoin is at a two-year low
Search volume is close to the levels last seen before the crypto boom of 2021
Despite rising prices in 2023, crypto industry continues to suffer from dwindling volumes 
This trend is backed up when looking at liquidity and trade volume, which have also fallen drastically since the hysteria of the pandemic

We have covered the dropoff in crypto liquidity previously, while the freefalling prices of the 2022 bear market need no recap. However, despite a rebound prices thus far in 2023, general interest in crypto remains significantly down compared to the pandemic hysteria – and the trend does not appear to be slowing. 

This week, another milestone was hit conveying just how far the sector has fallen when assessing it on a macro scale. Looking at search interest for the term “Bitcoin” worldwide, volume is now at the lowest point since 2020.  

To recap, following three years in the abyss, the cryptocurrency sector surged in the latter half of 2020. This came after it weathered the initial storm in March 2020, when the COVID pandemic struck markets harshly, both within and outside of crypto. 

But it was Q1 of 2021 when the sector truly jumped onto the mainstream stage. Dinner conversation was alive with talk of mysterious Internet money, newspapers were talking about blockchain and everybody wanted in, as the price of one Bitcoin retook its previous highs from the 2017 bull market peak…and just kept going. 

While the above chart shows that search volume dropped off since that lofty Q1, as is natural, the scale of the slide since betrays the struggles of the industry. As prices plummeted throughout 2022, interest in the sector bled off. 

There were three notable exceptions, however, when we saw brief spikes in interest. May 2022, when the Terra ecosystem collapsed, was one. Then there was June 2022, when a slew of bankruptcies struck the space, highlighted by lending firm Celsius. And finally, interest jumped again in November 2022, when FTX imploded. 

Unfortunately, none of these episodes were positive, setting the stage for further decline in interest once the dust settled on the various scandals. And that is what has happened – right into 2023, even as prices have begun to rebound. 

US climate worsening for crypto

Focusing on the US, the financial centre of the world, shows the exact same trend – in fact, a slightly steeper one. With the regulatory clampdown worsening in the country, it is also becoming harder for crypto companies to operate in the space. Should this result in much of crypto activity being pushed overseas as some speculate, this trend may only worsen going forward. 

However, to present this as a US problem would be erroneous. While the regulatory climate in the US is certainly not helping things over the last few months, this downward trend in interest has been ongoing since before the 2022 bear market kicked off. The regulatory issues may impact the US side more going forward, but to date, similar drop-offs in interest are being seen in nations around the world. 

The below shows this using Singapore as an example, one of Asia’s hottest crypto centres, presented against the US and displaying the same trend. 

“Anyone remotely in tune to the crypto markets will be able to tell you that interest is not as high as it was. Nonetheless, to see the extent to which Google search volume has fallen off is jarring. Even with prices rising in 2023, many who have lost interest in crypto are not returning. Not only this, but volume continues to fall, as crypto companies and other industry stakeholders fight a number of headwinds”, said Max Coupland, director of CoinJournal. 

In truth, most of this is not surprising. Bitcoin traded at $68,000 in 2021. Since then, it careened down to $15,500 as a number of scandals hit the space, putting many off the sector and causing institutional and retail money alike to flee. We have done several reports into this capital flight, showing how capital has departed the space at a relentless pace. 

Volumes, liquidity and general interest are all correlated. This is true anecdotally – how often have you heard of people discussing crypto in the last few months, compared to during the pandemic, when stimulus cheques and lockdowns were in full force, and Bitcoin was trading north of $50,000?

There is no denying that crypto has fallen from grace. The big question now is whether it can return to where it was. 

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