The number of folks carrying out internet searches for Bitcoin in the UK has dropped massively in 2018, and globally, similar trends indicate that the world at large is losing its appetite for the cryptocurrency.
Research carried out by Hitwise Monitor (for This is Money) found that searches for Bitcoin have fallen 61% so far this year, compared to the end of 2017 when interest in the cryptocurrency exploded (along with its value).
Unsurprisingly, the analysis – carried out across some three million Britons online – found that searches for the virtual coins hit a peak in the week of December 17 last year, which was when Bitcoin reached approximately $19,500 (around £14,000, AU$25,000) in value.
Google Trends shows a similar pattern worldwide, with peak global internet searches hitting a high in the week following December 17 – and as of this week, interest has receded back to the same level seen in the second week of October last year.
This isn’t exactly surprising, given what has happened to Bitcoin of late – as we saw a month ago, it dropped below $6,000 (around £4,300, AU$7,700), less than a third of the value it reached in December.
The virtual coin recovered somewhat since then, but has dropped again this week to under $9,000 (around £6,500, AU$11,500), following various investor-worrying revelations such as the US Securities and Exchange Commission announcing that cryptocurrency exchanges must register with it and be regulated, or else face being declared as ‘unlawful’ platforms.
This comes on top of all sorts of negative flak that has been flung at cryptocurrencies since the beginning of 2018, including various banks banning the purchase of Bitcoin on credit cards, and further regulation by authorities and governments. All of which means an already volatile virtual commodity has become even more unpredictable.