Bitcoin and cryptocurrency prices are tightly correlated to media and overall public sentiment – however, things might change.
The bitcoin price has gone up this year more than 200% since the beginning of the year and the last months the price is hovering around the $10,000 mark.
Lately, it seems that Google searches for these two keywords “Bitcoin” and “BTC” are being manipulated. BTC is the keyword that most traders use to search for the digital currency. Probably the manipulation objective is to move the bitcoin price.
Google searches for “BTC” have suddenly spiked leaving searches for the keyword “bitcoin” near zero as a flat line in the google trends chart as shown below.
The red line shows google searches for BTC and the Blu line for Bitcoin.
Usually searches for “BTC” are lower than searches for “bitcoin” but the last week that thing suddenly changed making the volume of “BTC” searches even bigger than it was even at the top of the bull run in December 2017.
The pattern may have begun in Romania, according to researchers at Kryptografen, a crypto news and analysis website.
“It is reasonable to assume that someone is behind these radical changes,” wrote Bendik Norheim Schei for Kryptografen.
“That the same pattern can be seen all over the world may indicate that VPN services have been used to distribute the search across the world, thus achieving a global trend. Google Trends points out that changes have been relatively large in Romania. Is this the source, or is it just because there have been fewer searches for BTC previously? Whatever the answer is–something very strange has happened to the interest in the keyword ‘BTC’ this past week.”
The bitcoin price is well known for the correlation with the search volume for these two keywords, “bitcoin” and ”BTC” and a sudden rise in searches for these keywords without a rise in bitcoin price is unlikely natural.
Google searches for “BTC” have never been higher as shown in the chart below with the red line, and the source of this spike in searches volume might be Romania.
Other crypto analysts were quick to join the Schei theory in indicating a possible attempt to manipulate the bitcoin price.
“Somebody’s trying to game the trading algorithms,” said Glen Goodman, explaining how this could be used to move the bitcoin price.
“There are algorithms programmed to look at Google Trends data and try to find correlations between numbers of searches for the word ‘BTC’ and the movements in the bitcoin price.”
“If they detect patterns, it may be profitable to trade off that data. This hacker may be buying some BTC, then sending a ton of ‘BTC’ search queries to Google, the algos see search numbers have risen and are triggered to buy a lot of BTC which pushes the price up, and the hacker then sells their BTC at a profit. Easy money!”
While it seems that whoever is trying to manipulate the goggle trend data for “bitcoin” and “BTC” is doing it in an organized way, the price was not affected a lot as usually happens in these cases.
“These searches appear to be timed to coincide with the quietest time in each country–around 4 am or 5 am, when search traffic is subdued, so the spam search queries will have maximum impact on the graph,” Goodman included.