You’d have to have been living in a mine the past year to not be able to guess the top search terms on Investopedia in 2017. Actually, that’s not true since "miners" played a big hand in the worldwide phenomenon known as bitcoin. Rather than pouring on the superlatives about bitcoin’s astounding rise in price and popularity over the past few months, let’s just say it was the outright leader in the top searched terms on Investopedia in 2017 – by a lot!

1. Bitcoin

While the cryptocurrency has been around since 2010 rising from the ashes of the financial crisis through the gaming community and financial mavericks who craved a decentralized digital currency, 2017 was bitcoin’s coming out party. We recently wrote about how searches for bitcoin on Google surpassed searches for Gold and stocks this year and showed the correlation between those searches and the price of the cryptocurrency.

At Investopedia, we get a front row seat to this educational quest since we are the grateful recipients of a lot of those queries. What were people looking for around bitcoin? Just about everything as they sought to understand what it is, how to buy it and why it has been on such a tear.  Here are the top searches around bitcoin in Investopedia for 2017:

2. Blockchain

Blockchain was a close 2nd to bitcoin for similar reasons. The technology underlying bitcoin and cryptocurrencies may be the only thing that endures a few years from now as everything from global finance to shipping and manufacturing may be upended by it. It’s too early to tell, but it’s clear that our readers are fascinated with it as it relates to bitcoin and its future potential.

3. FAANG

If it were not for the cryptocurrency mania that has captured our readers attention, the FAANG stocks, as they are known (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google), would have topped our list. As we have written about every week in 2017, the FAANGs have delivered incredible returns this year and dominated their industries while continuing to change the way we shop, interact with each other and entertain ourselves. Their returns have boosted the major market indexes to record levels given their weighting in index funds and ETFs, and their wide breadth of ownership by both institutions and individuals.

4. ICO

Lest we stray too far from the cryptocurrency world, ICO or Initial Coin Offering, was the fourth most searched term on Investopedia this year. The mechanism by which new coins or tokens are made available to the public is a confusing and difficult process for investors to participate in and understand.

5. Trumpcare

President Trump’s crusade to abolish Obamacare has been a hot-button issue in Washington and across the country in 2017. While his efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Healthcare Act outright did not succeed in Congress - yet - he may be successful at killing parts of it, particularly the Individual Mandate. As we know, health and money go hand in hand, so it was not a surprise to see Trumpcare in our top ten for 2017. It's not a real word – we know.

6. Artificial Intelligence

If it hadn't been blown out by the cryptocurrency arcade fire, it might have been A.I.’s year –  Artificial Intelligence, not ‘The Answer’, who ran things in Philly. Nearly every financial institution, Fintech hopeful, tech giant and Fin-trepeneur (Made up word… not in our dictionary), announced or is toying with some kind of artificial intelligence initiative or machine learning algorithm to blast their companies into the soon to be robotized world. Investment, public and private, has been pouring into it, helping to drive some heady valuations in the technology sector. Naturally, A.I. and cryptocurrency have a few things in common, so expect to hear more about this tango in the new year.

7. MiFID II

While we may think the rules and regulations around financial services are complicated in the U.S., just ask your colleagues on the other side of the pond about theirs. MiFID II, as it is known, is the new legislative framework going into effect in January, 2018 in the European Union to strengthen investor protection and improve the functioning of financial markets. It replaces MiFID, which was enacted in 2007, and will surely keep your financial advisor friends in Europe  busy with loads of paperwork while hopefully making the EU a safer and more transparent place to invest. We are fortunate to have many readers in Europe, so it's not a surprise it cracked our top ten and we are sure to see more interest in it once enacted in January.

8. Behavioral Economics

Some University of Chicago alumni like to joke that their alma mater is where "fun goes to die.”  The joke's on us, apparently, because that’s where some of the most interesting economic theory and writing has come from in the past century. From Freakonomics to Richard Thaler, the 2017 Nobel Prize in Economics award winner, the Maroons are not playing around when it comes to Behavioral Economics  our 7th most searched term on Investopedia. Behavioral Economics is not a new science, by any means. But Thaler’s recognition by the Nobel committee and investors’ behavior this year justifies the interest among our readers.

9. Impact Investing

Impact Investing found its stride in 2017, finally catching up to the popularity of ESG and SRI, its more established cousins in the world of ethical investing. We cited studies about Millennials and Gen X’ers preferring to invest more consciously in companies and funds that are aligned with their beliefs and values as they relate to sustainability, corporate governance, gender issues and the environment. While Impact and its kin are still a small slice of the money in public markets, they are starting to take up more room on the plate, which is why we launched our own impact investing platform on Investopedia. If our readers are looking for it, we want to make sure we have it.

10. Millennials

“They are taking over the world!”

“They want everything for free!”

“If you can’t put avocados on it, they won’t eat it!”

We’ve heard it all when it comes to Millennials this year, but the truth is, they are not much different than the rest of us.  They grew up with the internet and hand-held technology, so they know their way around the screens. But they want the same things we all want: A good living, good friends and family, memorable experiences and fast mobile device to share them on. They are also going to be on the receiving end of trillions of dollars through wealth transfer as older generations hand it down over the next 20 years. That’s why they are every marketer's favorite target and a huge focus for the financial services industry. That’s also why it’s no surprise they round out our top ten of the most searched terms on Investopedia.  

We are blessed to have a company full of them. They are smart, savvy, caring and fun. We’ll supply the avocados!

We are also endlessly grateful and humbled that millions of them, and folks of all ages around the world, rely on Investopedia for their financial and investing education. You have our gratitude.

Happy Holidays to all.  Keep searching and stay smart!

Caleb Silver, Editor in Chief

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