Call it a seminal moment that captures the spirit of our times, if you will.

Google searches for the phrase “how to invest in bitcoin” have exceeded those for “how to invest in stocks” during the past year. According to Google search trends, interest in bitcoin investing grew steadily until October 2017, when it suddenly skyrocketed. Last week proved to be the most successful time period for bitcoin investing searches.

As bitcoin's price set new record highs over $10,000 – and subsequently over $11,000 – Google search interest for investing in the cryptocurrency jumped from 26 to 100. According to Google, the numbers represent “search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the given region and time.” 100 is peak popularity for a given search term, and 50 is half the popularity of its peak. (See also: Bitcoin Price Sets New High And A New Normal). 

In comparison, search interest for “how to invest in stocks” remained relatively constant over the past year. This is despite a stock market that has also set new highs under a Republican administration. It briefly soared to a new record this morning on the back of enthusiasm regarding the passage of the tax reforms bill last week. While the new record did spur interest in stock investing, it was not enough to overtake interest in bitcoins.

Why Are Google Search Results Important For Bitcoin Investing?

Google searches are important because they affect bitcoin’s price by increasing investor numbers and trading volumes. The cryptocurrency is still a nascent entity and its price is influenced by many factors, such as hard forks, that are otherwise unknown in mainstream investing.

Google searches are indicative of mainstream investor interest in bitcoin. For example, Coinbase, the world’s largest cryptocurrency wallet, reported the addition of 100,000 new users over the Thanksgiving weekend and reportedly has 13.3 million accounts on its exchange. In contrast, Charles Schwab has 10.6 million active brokerage accounts on its system.

As the number of investors within the bitcoin ecosystem increases, the cryptocurrency’s perceived value and price increases. Since Thanksgiving weekend, bitcoin’s price has jumped from around $8,000 to a range of $11,000.      

For context, stocks as an investment vehicle have been around for more than 400 years, while bitcoins are less than a decade old. Still, it was difficult to beat bitcoin’s performance this year; the cryptocurrency has shot up by more than 1,000 percent in 2017. (See also: The Birth of Stock Exchanges.)

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