Nick Chong · 5 days ago · 2 min read · Insights via Grayscale Investments
According to Binance Research, relative search trends of the term “Bitcoin” have been shifting from west to east since 2011, and have now reached Africa.
Binance highlights Bitcoin popularity on Google Search
The world’s largest digital asset, Bitcoin, has always been synonymous with cryptocurrencies. For most, Bitcoin is the gateway both to other coins and to blockchain technology, which is why search trends regarding the term “Bitcoin” tend to illustrate the spread of crypto.
Google adjusts the trend score by dividing the number of searches made for the data point by the total number of searches made in the region. This way, it’s effectively able to gauge which region is showing the highest interest in Bitcoin. It further eliminates duplicate searches and searches made by very few people.
Binance Research, the research, and analytics arm of the world’s largest crypto exchange, published an animated chart showing the changes in heat ranking of “Bitcoin” in Google Search. The short video showed visualized changes in heat ranking of “Bitcoin” in Google search by country.
Visualized changes in heat ranking of “Bitcoin” #BTC in Google search by each Country/Region from Jan 2011 to today.
Noticeably, relative search trends of "Bitcoin" within each country have shifted from West to East, and most recently, Africa. pic.twitter.com/9Gxx2CGJwr
— Binance Research (@BinanceResearch) September 26, 2019
According to Binance’s data, Ireland seems to have been the first country to catch onto Bitcoin. In January 2011, Bitcoin was searched for the most in Ireland, followed by Belgium. The following month, Bitcoin briefly exploded in Kenya but was soon overtaken in popularity by searches from Finland, Estonia, and Iceland.
Until mid-2012, northern and eastern European countries took the lead when it comes to searches for Bitcoin, with Iceland, Finland, Norway, Estonia, and Russia taking the lead.
Africa slowly catching onto Bitcoin
Australia and New Zealand began taking notice of the crypto phenomenon in 2013, with Bitcoin being the most searched in the two countries several times throughout the year.
However, the eastward trend that began in 2013 was in full swing in 2014, when Hong Kong and Singapore caught onto Bitcoin. The two saw Google searches for Bitcoin skyrocket and have remained among the top 10 regions for Bitcoin searches throughout 2015 as well.
Then, after an economic crisis hit Greece in 2015, it became the country where most Bitcoin searches were coming from. The political uncertainty combined with the biggest debt crisis Europe had seen in a decade became fertile ground for Bitcoin, which was regarded as a “safe haven” asset.
A similar sentiment grew in Venezuela, where the 2015 parliamentary elections ignited a political crisis that culminated in 2016. The rising number of Bitcoin searches in the country made it one of the top 10 on the chart in 2015.
In 2016, Bitcoin began spreading to both the south and the east. South Africa remained the region with the most Bitcoin searches for a few months in 2016, followed closely by Malaysia and Singapore. The three were overtaken by Nigeria, which kept the record for the most Bitcoin searches well into 2017.
Both countries, Nigeria and South Africa—hit by economic reforms and a devaluating national currency, seem to be catching onto Bitcoin in times of financial and political uncertainty.