As a challenging year for crpyto comes to a close, we take a look at some of the top Google search trends for 2018.
A year where crypto prices plunged dramatically from their heady heights of December and January, where institutions seemed to be ramping up their interest, where the latter half of the year seemed to be preoccupied with the SEC’s decision on Bitcoin ETFs, and where crypto founders took the time to joyride stolen armored vehicles, it’s been nothing if not exciting.
Let’s take a look.
Bitcoin vs. Beyoncé
Unsurprisingly, searches for bitcoin have fallen off a virtual cliff since January, as retail interest fell in tandem with the leading cryptoasset’s falling prices. Used as an informal benchmark of bitcoin’s popularity, the bitcoin vs. Beyoncé comparison nonetheless shows that bitcoin has mostly maintained its edge over the popstar in 2018 - perhaps an indicator of the cryptocurrency’s broader penetration into the mainstream after the frenetic period in late 2017. A notable spike can also be seen in November as the bitcoin price plummetted substantially from around the $6,400 mark to unde $4,000 in less than a week - following the contentious Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork on November 15th.
HODL vs. BUIDL
A deliberate misspelling of “hold,” the phrase recently celebrated its fifth anniversary since appearing on the BitcoinTalk forum in 2014. It can be a revealing indicator of crypto market sentiment both through times of soaring prices, and during periods where prices are collapsing. Piggybacking on the original term’s popularity, “BUIDL” (a deliberate misspelling of build) has become somewhat of a mantra, as the bear market tightened its grip on 2018, with prominent industry figures. While the term hasn’t gained the traction of HODL, and fortunately will not become a trademarked phrase, it will be interesting to see if the term catches on more in 2019. Note the marked jump in HODL searches during the November slump in bitcoin prices.
One of the dominant narratives of the latter half of 2018 has been the anticipation for - and repeated delays of - the U.S. SEC’s decision regarding several Bitcoin ETFs, most significantly the yet-to-be decided VanEck/SolidX application. We can see this trend very clearly in 2018, with notable spikes surrounding the various SEC delays and decisions.
ICOs vs. STOs
Perhaps the biggest narrative of 2018 has been the dramatic collapse of the ICO bubble - a phenomenon so severe that even the term “ICO” has become somewhat of a dirty word as the year draws to a close. If we look at the comparison between the search terms “Initial Coin Offering” and “Security Token Offering” (ICO vs. STO is unrepresentative as STO also refers to Star Trek Online) - we can perhaps notice a narrowing of the gap - although it’s unclear whether the trend is significant.
Another prominent theme to crypto news in 2018 - particularly in the second half of the year - has been the growth in prominence of stablecoins, as questions surrounding Tether (USDT) and the proliferation of alternative stablecoins such as the Paxos Standard (PAX), the Winklevoss’ Gemini Dollar (GUSD) and Circle’s USDC have seen interest grow substantially.