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Google Search Volume for Bitcoin Keywords Increased by as Much as 1000% During 2017

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Following bitcoin’s incredible performance and increased media coverage during 2017, there is no doubt that bitcoin has witnessed increased user adoption. Estimates regarding the scale of bitcoin’s growth vary due to the anonymous nature of bitcoins transactions; however, the search engine traffic for terms such as ‘bitcoin’ are generally seen as a reliable indicator of the growth in bitcoin’s user adoption. The most recent figures made available by Google indicate an increase in searches for prominent keywords relating to bitcoin of many hundreds of percent when comparing data from 2016 and 2017, whilst bitcoin became the ninth most visited page on Wikipedia during last year – indicating a significant increase in bitcoin user adoption.

On Wikipedia, Bitcoin Was the Ninth Most Visited Page for 2017

According to Wikipedia’s annual report the 50 most visited pages on the website, bitcoin ranked ninth for 2017. The report describes bitcoin as “the much-hyped ‘future of money’”, adding that the world’s first cryptocurrency “has turned into the most speculative intangible asset of all time.” The report states that the page was visited 15,026,561 times during 2017.

Traffic for bitcoin’s Wikipedia page peaked on the 8th of December – when BTC experienced a dramatic retracement of approximately 20%, falling from the then all-time high of $17,171 USD on Bitfinex, before bouncing off the approximately $14,000 area. Despite bitcoin’s meteoric price performance during 2017, the Wikipedia report recognizes some of bitcoin’s shortcomings that emerged during the year – stating that bitcoin “prov[ed] totally unsuitable as a means of payment” due to the controversy surrounding the scaling issues that have plagued BTC throughout the year.

Google Searches for Bitcoin Reach Record Highs

Google Search Volume for Bitcoin Keywords Increased by as Much as 1000% During 2017The volume of Google searches conducted for prominent keywords pertaining to bitcoin has also produced dramatic growth – with the latest data from Google indicating that numerous major keyword groupings received between one million and ten million searches each month on average during 2017. The data indicates that monthly searches relating to the keywords ‘bitcoin price’ saw an increase of over 1,000% on average during January 2017 to December 2017 when compared with data from the previous year, whilst searches pertaining to ‘bitcoin chart’ increased by 934%, and searches for ‘bitcoin USD’ increased by more than 800%. Google estimates that each of the aforementioned keyword groupings received between 1 and 10 million searches on average each month during 2017 – a significant increase compared to the 100,000 and 1,000,000 monthly searches Google estimates were conducted each month during 2016.

A large number of dominant keyword groupings pertaining to bitcoin received between 100,000 and 1,000,000 searches monthly last year. Among those that experienced the highest growth when compared with 2016 were ‘current bitcoin’ – for which searches increased by 895.9%, ‘btc price’ – which increased by 828.5%, sell bitcoins – gaining in volume by 626.5%, bitcoin miner – up 590.6%, btc rate – up 510.4%, bitcoin calculator – up 471.2%, bitcoin rate – up 461.4%, buy bitcoin – up 273.5%, and bitcoin trading – up 170.9%. Searches for ‘earn bitcoin’ increased by 74.6%. Several notable keywords also grew to receive between 10,000 and 100,000 searches last year, including ‘bitcoin market’ – which increased in search volume by 900%, ‘btc chart’ – searches for which grew by 826.2%, ‘currency bitcoin’ – with searches increasing by 826.1%, ‘purchase bitcoin’ – which increased by 752.5%, and ‘bitcoin account’ – increasing by 291.2%.

Curiously, some of the top keyword groupings that produced the least growth during 2017 included ‘bitcoin mining’ – searches for which grew by 33.6%, ‘bitcoin exchange’ – which grew by 17.5%, and ‘bitcoin wallet’ – which saw a meagre increase in search traffic of only 0.9%.


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Notorious Domain XBT.com Goes up for Sale at 200 BTC

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XBT.com, one of the web’s most desirable domain names, is up for sale. Its current owners, XBT Holding SA, are seeking 200 BTC – or about $2.9 million – for the site. The domain is coveted partially because XBT is the abbreviation that many institutional trading platforms use for bitcoin, and also on account of the site’s notoriety, having been linked to the hacking of the US Democratic Party.

Buy XBT with BTC

It’s not often a three-letter dot com domain goes up for sale, but when it does, it’s guaranteed to command a premium price tag. XBT.com is of particular interest to bitcoiners, given that the letters XBT are synonymous with bitcoin in some circles. This connection accounts for why the web hosting company in charge of the domain have elected to capitalize on the bitcoin boom and price the domain in BTC.

200 BTC is the starting bid for XBT.com, whose holding page currently shows a “buy now” button or the option to place a bid, complete with the price of bitcoin in real-time, denominated in XBT. There’s more to the site than a cool name and a convenient bitcoin connection though: the backstory to XBT.com is the most enthralling part of the whole affair.

Notorious Domain XBT.com Goes up for Sale at 200 BTC
The homepage of XBT.com

Buzzfeed, Trump, and the Damaging Dossier

In January 2017, Buzzfeed published a story based on information supplied by research group Fusion GPS. It contained a series of allegations about XBT, the Luxembourg-based company currently selling the domain of the same name. XBT, in conjunction with its Webzilla subsidiary, had been complicit in stealing data from the Democratic Party including a damning dossier on Donald Trump, the allegation went. XBT’s former CEO Aleksej Gubarev was named specifically in the report, supposedly abetted by Russia’s Federal Security Service.

Notorious Domain XBT.com Goes up for Sale at 200 BTCXBT and its then-CEO bitterly contested these allegations, but the cat was already out the bag, and the company’s reputation and finances took a hit. Gubarev and XBT took Buzzfeed to court over the story, in a case which is still ongoing in a Florida court. XBT and Buzzfeed have been sniping ever since, with the Luxembourg-based company filing a response to Buzzfeed’s attempt to have the lawsuit dismissed entitled “Six Ways BuzzFeed Has Misled the Court (Number Two Will Amaze You) … And a Picture of a Kitten”.

Bloomberg quotes Gubarev, via his lawyer, as saying:

This domain has way more value in the hands of someone in the cryptocurrency business. Also, the brand name of XBT has severely suffered due to the false allegations in the dossier, and we are considering re-branding as the result of the reputational damage.

XBT’s loss can be one bitcoin entrepreneur’s gain, but they’ll need to dig deep for the privilege. Aside from the 200 BTC asking price, the auction requires a deposit of $10,000 or 0.5 BTC just to eligible to bid. With no bids received so far, it remains to be seen whether XBT will succeed in shifting one of the web’s most infamous domains.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, and XBT.com.

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Calls for “Legal Bitcoin” in Ukraine, as Natsbank Mulls E-Fiat

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Ukraine, now serious about crypto regulation, is setting up a special working group to oversee the completion of the necessary framework. Dedicated legislation has been making its way through parliament since October. The National Bank is considering plans to emit “e-hryvnias”, while the justice minister says bitcoin is a fact and calls for its legalization.

Crypto Matters in Ukraine’s Security

Cryptocurrencies have been addressed as a major topic of discussion during a meeting of the National Cybersecurity Coordination Center on Thursday. Participants took a closer look at what they referred as “uncontrolled circulation of cryptocurrencies on the territory of Ukraine”, Froklog reported. According to representatives of Ukraine’s National Bank, Security Service and National Police – the absence of control and the anonymity of transactions create conditions for laundering money acquired through criminal activities. Unsurprisingly, Ukrainian officials also noted the possible use of cryptos to purchase illicit goods, like drugs and weapons. The “black list” would’ve been incomplete if financing terrorism was not mentioned, and so it was.

The development of the cryptocurrency market cannot be left unattended

This is what Oleksandr Turchynov, Secretary of the National Security Council, said during the meeting of the cybersecurity body. In his words, when the government is distancing itself from the matter, in a legal vacuum, threats arise for the economy and security of the state. He emphasized the absence of regulatory framework and subordinate statutory instruments. With the fast development of cryptocurrencies around the world, Ukraine cannot leave this question without the due attention, Turchynov stressed.

Calls for “Legal Bitcoin” in Ukraine, as Natsbank Mulls E-Fiat
Oleksandr Turchynov

Following his comments, the NCCC decided to set up a working group and charge it with finalizing all legal preparations to adopt crypto regulation. The National Bank, the Ministry of Finance and the Security Service will be represented in the party, along with other supervisory and law enforcement institutions. They must determine how the cryptocurrency market will be functioning and how the mechanism to monitor transactions and identities will be implemented. The working group will also be dealing with crypto-taxation.

The government experts will develop a mechanism to access data collected by the cryptocurrency exchanges. They will be obliged to keep transaction records under the requirements currently applicable to other financial institutions. Crypto companies will have to reveal information about their customers when a “motivated request” is submitted by the authorities.

Bitcoin to Stay, Hence – Must Be Legalized

The cybersecurity meeting was held a few days after a statement by the Minister of Justice who said that “Bitcoin must be brought into the legal field”. In an interview for Segodnya on Sunday, Pavel Petrenko noted that cryptocurrency transactions would be taking place, one way or the other. That’s why, he thinks, it would be better if bitcoin gets regulated right away.

“Bitcoin already forms a sizable portion of market transactions, including those of goods and services. That’s a fact!”, the government official stated, referring to the matter as Fait accompli. He added that every state and international organization must respond to this “transnational public phenomenon. Otherwise, these relations will be left outside the law. Regardless, they will continue to exist anyway”, Petrenko added.

Calls for “Legal Bitcoin” in Ukraine, as Natsbank Mulls E-FiatUkraine’s justice minister also thinks that his country should work with the EU and the US to provide a unified legal definition of bitcoin. The high-ranking Kiev official reiterated his ministry’s readiness to join other Ukrainian institutions that had been “actively dealing” with the legal issues. Financial regulators in the country have already supported parliamentary initiatives to officially regulate the status of cryptocurrencies.

Two bills and one amendment have been advancing through parliamentary commissions since their introduction to the Rada last October. No progress has been reported this year. One of the drafts aims to encompass the circulation of digital coins in Ukraine. Another focuses on “stimulating the market of cryptocurrencies and their derivatives”. Tweaks in the Tax Code should address cryptocurrency income, with unconfirmed reports of possible exemptions and incentives for miners. A parliamentary report explores the implications of new legislation on the state budget.

Hryvnia – “Tak”, Crypto – “Ni”

Another announcement from the cybersecurity meeting in Kiev read that the National Bank is “considering the expediency of issuing cryptocurrency”. Shortly after Ukraine’s “Natsbank” corrected that slip of the tongue.

In a press-release, posted on social media, the central financial authority said clearly that no plans were in place to issue a new crypto. However, the bank is still mulling over the possibility to emit a so called “e-hryvnia”, or the nation’s fiat currency in electronic/digital form. This could be done within the framework of the “Cashless Economy” project aimed at speeding up bank operations and minimizing losses in money transfers.

The National Bank is studying modern innovation technologies and looking into a broad spectrum of possible applications in perspective…

Central banks… What can you do about it?

Do you think Ukraine will soon legalize bitcoin and expand its cryptocurrency sector or go for a digital national currency? Tell us in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


 

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