Is crypto boring again?
That may be one interpretation of search data The Defiant examined this week. Key search terms relating to crypto have been declining since January, suggesting that retail traders and DeFi tourists are exiting the sector.
According to Google Trends data, searches for crypto keywords have since been in a steady decline across the board. Volume for ‘NFT’ has dropped by two-thirds from its January peak, suggesting the nonfungibles market is seriously cooling down.
Traffic for Ethereum and Bitcoin has also halved since January, and is currently trending at their lowest level since December 2020.
No surprise, really. The crypto markets have been more volatile than usual since the all-time high of last November. The last two years have seen crypto capture the imagination of ordinary investors and Wall Street institutions alike as the Covid-19 pandemic spurred unprecedented state-backed stimulus money and zero-commission platforms like Robinhood made trading super easy.
Digital assets posted impressive gains in early 2021, with Tesla CEO Elon Musk proselytizing his followers to Bitcoin and Dogecoin, and the launch of the Beacon Chain setting the Eth2 roadmap in motion. The markets would eventually top out in May, before surging interest NFTs and Ethereum launch of EIP-1559 recaptured the attention of the masses.
Ever since crypto peaked in November and the NFT bubble crested in January, investors have retreated.
Google Trends data suggests that while the 2017 bull run was driven by fresh retail interest in Bitcoin, the mid-2021 bull market was fuelled by unprecedented demand for Ethereum and Dogecoin, alongside resurging traffic for BTC.
In May 2021, searches for Bitcoin notably fell short of its 2017 highs by a quarter and were momentarily surpassed by Dogecoin, while traffic for Ethereum rocketed to all-time highs.
By contrast, the run-up to November 2021’s all-time highs appears to have been driven by surging interest in NFTs. Bitcoin and Ethereum also experienced a notable increase in search volume during Q3 that peaked in October — just weeks before the crypto asset markets posted their current all-time highs, although their search traffic peaked at roughly half of what was recorded in May.
Searches for ‘NFT’ continued to rally until the non fungible markets peaked in January, with the term beating out Ethereum by 170% at the time. Despite many crypto assets having topped out in November, searches for Bitcoin and Ethereum rebounded back to their October levels in January.
But traffic for key crypto terms has since dried up.
Google’s data shows that the recent bull markets for different crypto asset classes have been driven by distinct geographical regions over the past year.
Google traffic for NFT has predominantly come out of Asia, with Singapore, Hong Kong, and China dominating searches. Taiwan and The Philippines also drove significant volumes of searches.
By contrast, Dogecoinmania was a predominantly Western phenomenon, with Turkey, the U.S., and Canada, representing the majority of searches. Singapore, Holland, and Australia also represent significant traffic for Dogecoin.
The vast majority of searches for Bitcoin came from El Salvador over the past 12 months, with the small Central American nation having become the first country to recognize Bitcoin as legal tender for all transactions in September. Salvadoran traffic for Bitcoin was triple that of second-ranked Holland, followed by Nigeria, Turkey, and Austria.
Searches for Ethereum also originated from varied regions, with Kosovo, Singapore, and North Macedonia topping the list. Canada, Switzerland, and Turkey also showed significant interest in the world computer over the past 12 months.