As Bitcoin Surges, Google Searches Suggest Little FOMO Among Retail Investors

Web search data suggests popular interest in bitcoin remains at normal levels, despite a sharp price rally to near $16,000.

Nov 6, 2020 at 11:11 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:28 a.m. UTC

Web search data suggests popular interest in bitcoin remains at normal levels, despite a sharp price rally to near $16,000.

  • The top cryptocurrency has chalked up a nearly 50% gain in the past four weeks to trade as high as $15,971 earlier on Friday – a level last seen during the bull market frenzy between December 2017 and January 2018.
  • Some observers say the rally is now being driven higher by retail greed and fear of missing out (FOMO). However, Google data suggests otherwise.
  • Google Trends, a barometer used to gauge general interest in trending topics, is currently returning a value of 10 for the worldwide search query "bitcoin price."
  • That's significantly lower than the value of 93 observed in early December 2017 following bitcoin's record break above $15,000.
  • The current reading is also lower than the peak of 19 observed in the second week of May when bitcoin underwent its third mining reward "halving."
  • Google's data suggests retail investors are showing calm over bitcoin's recent rally and the market is far from being in a state of bull frenzy.
  • Google search values typically rise following a major bull run as high street investors, who missed the early rise, often scan the internet for price information before joining the market.
  • Google Trends provides access to a mostly unfiltered sample of actual search requests made to Google and scales their searches on a range of 0 to 100, according to the company.
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Values for worldwide search query "Bitcoin Price"

  • FOMO action is widely considered a sign of an asset nearing a major top as retailers are usually the last to join the market.
  • But with popular interest still relatively low, it seems safe to say that FOMO is yet to take hold of the market and the ongoing institutional-driven rally has legs.
  • Bitcoin peaked at a record high of $20,000 in mid-December 2017. At the same time, the worldwide search query "Bitcoin Price" touched 100 on Google Trends.
  • It's worth noting, though, that a high search value does not necessarily translate into increased buying pressure. Often investors search for information, but remain on the fence.
  • At press time, bitcoin is trading near $15,588, representing a 118% gain on a year-to-date basis. The figure of $15,971 reached early Friday was a 33-month high.

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