Internet Trends Report 2018: “Exploding” Interest in Crypto

Avi Rosten
  • The annual report which "tells stories of business-related trends" - identified a massive increase in cryptocurrency interest
  • The report also showed that bitcoin was a popular topic at university

Venture capitalist Mary Meeker’s popular annual Internet Trends Report has this year identified an “exploding” interest in cryptocurrency.

Compiled in conjunction with venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Partners and Hillhouse Capital, the 294-page report focuses on “trends around data” to “tell stories of business-related trends.”

Of particular interest, the report showed that academic interest in cryptocurrency hit a new high in 2017 - with a Princeton course on Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies ranking in the top 10 most popular university courses for the year.

 

Meeker’s report looked at some interesting stats to illustrate the increase in cryptocurrency interest: data from Coinbase shows their user numbers increasing nearly fourfold between January and December 2017.

coinbase users.png

The chart also shows a particular spike in the frenetic autumn period when bitcoin and other top cryptocurrencies rose rapidly - although the chart fails to include the figures for coinbase membership during December when bitcoin reached its all-time high of $20,000.

Moving into the Mainstream

Coinbase have arguably been instrumental in the penetration of cryptocurrency into the mainstream - in particular for retail investors. One of the few exchanges to offer fiat pairings with top cryptocurrencies, the exchange and wallet provider has name recognition that extends beyond the confines of the crypto-world.

With reports released today confirming that Bittrex are set to offer Bitcoin US Dollar trading on their exchange - recent moves by other exchanges towards offering fiat pairings will no doubt increase this movement towards mainstream recognition.

Buying Bitcoin At All-Time High Was Better Than Keeping Money In Argentinian Bank, Trader Reveals

Josu San Martin, a Mexico City-based Bitcoin “quasi-maximalist”, recently revealed that if the residents of Argentina, a country experiencing a major financial crisis, had purchased Bitcoin (BTC) at the “highest point of the ‘biggest bubble in history’” (in 2017),  they would have still “been better off” than leaving their funds in an Argentinian bank.

Earlier this month, Twitter user Matias (@MatiasTrader) had noted that Bitcoin had reached “an all-time high in Argentinian Pesos (ARS).” This, as the South American nation is suffering from extremely high levels of inflation.

High Levels Of Inflation Does Not Necessarily Mean Bitcoin Will Help?

Interestingly, Twitter user Moises Cassab (@josusanmartin) pointed out that the main argument being made is that the Argentinian Peso is a “terrible store-of-value (SoV).” Moises also appeared to suggest that there was no meaningful relationship between the declining value of Argentina’s national currency and the arguably better performance of Bitcoin, the world’s most dominant cryptocurrency.

Moises remarked: 

Buying Celine Dion 2020 tickets would of outperformed the arg peso. Tell me how Celine Dion tickets are a terrible store of value.

Venezuelans Still Need To Use The Bolivar “To Survive”

According to Josu San Martin:

In a long enough timeline, the Argentinian peso doesn't look that much different from any other Latin American currency.

Indeed, the residents of other nations in the same region such as Venezuela are enduring one of the worst economic crises in their country’s history. However, recent reports which appeared to have suggested that cryptocurrencies were increasingly being used as a hedge against inflation in Venezuela may not be entirely accurate.

Focusing On Basic Necessities

Alejandro Machado, the co-founder of the Open Money Initiative (OMI), a project dedicated to assisting nations with “collapsing monetary systems,” had revealed recently that the citizens of Venezuela have not completely abandoned the Bolivar.

Although Machado acknowledged that bitcoin trading in Venezuela had reached record-level highs, he said that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were “too technical” for most Venezuelans. He also mentioned:

Access to products [in Venezuela] is the number one thing [that people are looking for.] Do I have enough to eat this week or do I need to reinvent the ways that I access food?