• Bitcoin marks a daily high so far of USD 7,372 on Boxing Day
  • Google Search interest in Bitcoin correlates with sudden price moves, long or short
  • Bank of Russia reported to be testing stablecoins as a hedge of stability against crypto volatility

Bitcoin on Boxing Day is proving to be a better day than Christmas for Bitcoiners, as price is slowly climbing up in late Europe trading zones, recording a daily high of USD 7,372 (CoinDesk) with the Americas yet to enter the fray.

We frequently report on how interest in Bitcoin tends to go up as Bitcoin price does, and we now have even more data that supports this theory, with recent Google trends showing that Bitcoin’s sudden price movements — whether or not it is up or down — tend to trigger even more interest, despite recent performances seemingly giving up ground on price for the world’s most traded digital asset.

Google Trends now shows that interest worldwide in Bitcoin has been trending upwards, with last month recording its highest ever search ranking since 26 October when price was at USD 9,200. And more interestingly, the majority of this new interest is coming not from typical Bitcoiner country like USA or West Europe, but from emerging economies such as Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa. Tinier European nations like Austria and Switzerland are also climbing up the list, apparently, meaning to say that the diversity of interest in Bitcoin is also increasing.

Digging more into the data, we can find that in 2019, interest in Bitcoin on Google Search has been during periods of intense volatility, where Bitcoin has lost or gained the most value. One example is during the rally from USD 9,000 on 19 June to USD 12,900 on 29 June — the 10-day period witnessed the highest global interest in Bitcoin in a year. The second best rate of interest? This came during the second week of May, when price rallied from USD 5,500 to USD 8,000.

But opposite price action also triggered mass interest. For example, from 14 to 20 July when Bitcoin lose 10% of its value, and in September when Bitcoin lose 20% of its price in just a week. Blockchain Today analyst Jeroen Van Lange concurs:

“On the 24th and 25th of September Bitcoin dipped from USD 10,080 to USD 8,126. On those exact dates we are seeing a spike in volume on Google trends. The same counts for 25th and 26th of October, huge volatility increases search volume.”

Interest or not, Russia is hot on the heels of China in terms of launching its own central bank digital currency (CBDC), with news emerging that the Bank of Russia is now trialing stablecoins pegged to real assets in a regulatory sandbox.

Elvira Nabiullina, the chief of the Russian central bank, has clarified that these stablecoins are not necessarily going to be a means of payment or substitute for money, however. Russian media arm Interfax said that the bank was merely exploring stablecoin potential, as a hedge against crypto volatility. She said:

We are testing stablecoins in our regulatory ‘sandbox’. We see companies willing to issue tokens pegged to certain real assets. In our regulatory sandbox, we are learning the potential uses of stablecoins but we do not assume that they will function as a means of payment and become a surrogate for money .”

The same report also touched on the issue of the digital ruble or the Russian CBDC, which says that the bank is still working to fully understand their potential by looking at the experiences of other countries using them. Nabiullina did say that issuing such a digital ruble could lead to unintended “serious consequences” such as financial market structure changes like deposit outflows.

Russian sentiment on crypto doesn’t seem to have changed, though, as she said that despite Russians’ continued belief that private money without government interference was a possibility, the state was firm in its resolve against “private money”. She explained:

“We are against private money. If some digital currencies were designed to become a substitute for private money, we could not support that.”

 

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