Spot Bitcoin ETF Excitement Hits Main Street, Google Search Indicates

Many market participants expect the SEC to greenlight the first U.S.-based spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund early next year.

AccessTimeIconOct 20, 2023 at 8:21 a.m. UTC
Updated Oct 20, 2023 at 3:43 p.m. UTC

Interest in the impending increased use of bitcoin (BTC) in financial markets through a potential spot exchange-traded funds (ETF) has filtered through to retail investors, Google Trends data appears to show.

The worldwide Google search value for the phrase "spot bitcoin ETF" for a five-year window is on track to hit the peak value of 100 this week, indicating maximum interest among the general population. The value for "bitcoin ETF" has increased to 39, the highest since ProShares' futures-based ETF was launched two years ago. Back then, the search value for "bitcoin ETF" also touched 100.

In other words, more and more people on main street are scanning the web for information about bitcoin spot ETFs and how they might affect the market capitalization of what is already the world's largest the cryptocurrency. Market participants are convinced that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, having recently missed a deadline to challenge a critical legal loss, will approve a spot ETF early next year, opening the liquidity floodgates.

"The approval of a spot BTC ETF has been an enduring theme in the crypto space and [is] often seen as a barometer of BTC's mainstreaming," Toronto-based crypto platform FRNT Financial, said in an email on Thursday, referring to the spike in Google search values for ETF.

Google Trends provides mostly unfiltered samples of search requests made to Google and scales their searches on a range of 0 to 100. The value represents the search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the selected region and time. The peak value of 100 has historically marked bull market tops in BTC and solana (SOL).

Google search value for the word "spot bitcoin ETF" is on track to hit the peak value of 100 this week. (Google Trends)
Google search value for the word "spot bitcoin ETF" is on track to hit the peak value of 100 this week. (Google Trends) (Google Trends)

A spot ETF will track the price of bitcoin rather than the prices of bitcoin futures and involves the purchase and ownership of the cryptocurrency by the provider. It's suited for anyone looking to take direct exposure to bitcoin without having to own the cryptocurrency themselves.

The spot ETF optimism gripped the market three months ago after heavyweights in traditional financial markets like BlackRock filed for one. It has insulated bitcoin from adverse macroeconomic developments, ensuring the cryptocurrency's outperformance against ether (ETH).

According to crypto services provider Matrixport, the bitcoin price could rise to between $42,000 and $56,000 if the BlackRock ETF is approved. Bitcoin was recently trading about $29,400.

Edited by Sheldon Reback.


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Omkar Godbole

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