Last week, Bitcoin’s value tumbled 9% in one day on news that China’s central bank had ordered banks and payment companies to close trading accounts belonging to more than 10 exchanges. Since then, Bitcoin has crashed by nearly another 10%, now hovering around $480. It’s a steep decline from the feverish highs above $1,100 last November.
Ominously, general interest in Bitcoin is declining sharply, regardless of the recent turbulence. Google Trends shows that even though you would expect the break below the $500 level to generate a lot of curiosity, the search volume for “Bitcoin” is actually far below where it was in late February, when the pseudo-currency dropped below $600.
The drama swirling around Bitcoin is not dissipating at all. Recent items on Chinese central bank moves and the sudden discovery of hundreds of thousands of vanished Bitcoins are just as compelling as the news flow was a few months ago. But people have started losing interest. Search volume peaked last November as Bitcoin price topped $1,100, then had a smaller peak in late February as the price tumbled below $600.
But the latest Bitcoin crash is no longer piquing the interest of the general public at all.
Outside of Iceland, that is — the volcanic island remains the top country in the world when it comes to Bitcoin search volume relative to population size. That is because in the lava plains of Reykjanesbaer, Bitcoin-mining is a real industry thanks to cold air and geothermal energy.
Iceland was one of the biggest victims of the global financial crisis of 2008. Hopefully the nascent Bitcoin industry will fare better than Kaupthing did.