Can You Use Crypto YouTube Channels to Time the Market? Yes, Says Delphi

Tracking changes in the viewership and subscriber base of popular crypto-related YouTube channels can offer insights into retail investor sentiment and impending market trends.

AccessTimeIconOct 19, 2023 at 8:54 a.m. UTC
Updated Oct 20, 2023 at 3:37 p.m. UTC
  • YouTube-based crypto content channels are one of the key sources of information for retail investors.
  • The increased user base for popular crypto-focused YouTube channels has historically marked major price tops in bitcoin, according to data tracked by Delphi Digital.

Consider the number of crypto-related YouTube channels you have subscribed to and the hours spent per day watching these videos. Now, multiply these figures by the number of subscribers for each channel.

The resulting data can be used as a sentiment indicator to gauge how the general populace feels about the crypto market and predict major market tops and bottoms, according to crypto research firm Delphi Digital.

"Analyzing the relationship between the average weekly views and subscriber growth/decline of popular crypto-related YouTube channels ought to shed some more color on retail participation," Delphi research analyst, Priyansh Patel, said in a note to clients on Wednesday.

"Although far from perfect, using these alternate metrics does provide some valuable insight into the market trend and the impact of retail participation," Patel added.

Retail investors are usually the last to board the rally and exit the market. Their decision to invest is often based on the information disseminated through freely available sources like YouTube and blogs. Hence, a pick up in viewership for YouTube channels can be seen as a contrary indicator, just as Google search trends or investor sentiment surveys.

Savvy traders and professional money managers use retail investor-focused sentiment indicators as contrarian indicators, buying when the retail sentiment is too pessimistic and selling when the sentiment is overly optimistic.

Data tracked by Delphi show, that the weekly change in views and subscriber counts of popular channels like The Moon,BitBoy Crypto, DataDash, EllioTrades Crypto and Ivan on Tech have historically mimicked the crypto boom-bust cycles.

The chart shows growth/decline in their subscriber and viewership since late 2020. (Social Blade, Delphi Digital)
The chart shows growth/decline in their subscriber and viewership since late 2020. (Social Blade, Delphi Digital) (Social Blade, Delphi Digital)

The chart shows the weekly gain in the subscriber count and viewership for "The Moon" and "Ivan on Tech" peaked in early 2021 as bitcoin (BTC) reached its first significant high above $60,000 and quickly fell to $30,000.

The cryptocurrency bounced back to a new all-time high of $69,000 in November 2021, but failed to bring new business to the two channels. In the subsequent 12 months, the weekly gain in viewership and subscriber count followed the bearish broader market trend.

More importantly, bitcoin’s year-to-date gain of over 70% has yet to boost both channels’ subscriber base and viewership. It’s a sign the general population is still sitting on the sideline, hungover from last year’s brutal bear market.

According to Delphi, analysis of popular social media platforms can be as effective as YouTube viewership.

"You can take this a step further and perform a similar analysis on popular Twitter accounts, SubReddits, Blogs, podcasts, and so on. And upon doing so, in all likelihood, you’d find these trends being mimicked," Patel noted.

Edited by Parikshit Mishra.


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Omkar Godbole

Omkar Godbole is a Co-Managing Editor on CoinDesk's Markets team.