Bitcoin’s Price And The Public Interest

When bitcoin’s price skyrockets, the printing presses kick into high gear. And when Bitcoin collapses, a new crop of stories go out.

Something interesting is happening at the moment, however, as we have recently seen a decoupling of bitcoin’s price and the public interest. In short, bitcoin’s recent rally hasn’t been matched with rising consumer interest in the currency.

We can measure consumer interest by using Google’s provided Trends data. The correlation between bitcoin’s price and spikes in interest have gone hand in hand. Note that we’re not trying to establish causation here; instead, we’re merely pointing out that when bitcoin is going up, more people take a look at it. That’s all. At least until now.

So check the following long-term bitcoin chart (Via BlockChain):

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 2.53.55 PM

Here’s Google Trends’ Bitcoin chart:

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 2.54.02 PM

To be fair, the June data, that flat bit, is partial. But the steep rise in bitcoin’s price that we saw recently took place nearly completely in May, so that factoid probably doesn’t mean much.

It actually makes sense that Bitcoin’s price rallied without a commensurate rise in public interest, however. As TechCrunch reported in the midst of the recent rally, total bitcoin transactions weren’t going up. Instead, the total amount of bitcoin traded was. So, people were buying in larger chunks. The average person, the sort we might look to find in the Google Trends data, wouldn’t be buying in bulk like that.

So what caused the upswing and the large purchases? Your guess is as good as mine, but we could be breaking some new ground.