UAE online searches shadow Bitcoin cycles- Hollywood adds to crypto misery

March 13, 2019 5:04 pm


Online search interest in the UAE for cryptocurrencies closely follows the price fluctuations of leading digital assets, according to a recent research report from SEMrush, a prominent digital marketing suite.

The global research found that searches conducted online in the UAE echoed other markets and overall global trends in a decreasing interest in cryptocurrencies after Bitcoin’s exchange rates spiked to a historical high in December 2017. During the same month, global online searches for Bitcoin also hit a high of just over 40 million searches, before dipping to around five million average monthly searches globally during the proceeding eight months.

“The correlation between cryptocurrency search volumes and Bitcoin exchange rates was much higher globally in early 2018, but today there appears to be a much weaker correlation between online search volumes and the exchange rates,” commented Adam Zeidan Corporate Communications Manager for SEMrush in MENA region.

The SEMrush report shows that UAE online search volumes for ‘cryptocurrency’ also spiked in December 2017. Again, echoing global trends, UAE online searches have since dropped and now remain behind the monthly average online search volumes related to traditional, or general, financial trading terms such as ‘stock market’.

SEMrush highlighted that the second most searched cryptocurrency in the UAE after Bitcoin is Ripple. Average monthly searches for Bitcoin in the UAE dropped from 100,000 searches a month during the spike in exchange rates in early 2018 to the current level of 15,000 searches a month.

As for specific blockchain-related searches in the UAE, the top spot was for healthcare related blockchain, which registered around 1,000 average monthly searches. This was followed by blockchain for banking, security, insurance and real estate.

“Twitter sentiment on cryptocurrency in the UAE today is also showing a substantially large neutral audience, which could be either indifference, lack of awareness, or both. Sentiment on cryptocurrency stands at 54.4 per cent neutral, 38.8 per cent positive and 6.7 per cent negative,” pointed out Zeidan.

 

Crypto struggles

Bitcoin enthusiast Tim Draper predicted we will all be using Bitcoin in the near future and only criminals will be left dealing with cash.

But today, the Bitcoin picture is still not clear, if not gloomy.

Bitcoin’s price has dragged in bear market territory, with investors and traders saw the value of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies fall by more than $400 billion in a little over a year.

Former IMF Chief Economist Kenneth Rogoff believes that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies currently amount to little more than “lottery tickets” at this moment in time.

Advanced economies have so far refrained from fully adopting cryptocurrencies in their current form because, among others, of their capacity to attract money launderers. Cryptos’ anonymity is integral and if that aspect of the currency is lost, so will their mass appeal.

According to CCN, Hollywood already has a sinister opinion about Bitcoin. The new film “Crypto” pushes the bitcoin-money laundering narrative.

Finally, the security of this decentralized blockchain financial system is subject to a constant barrage of attacks, an online version of Bonnie and Clyde being replicated globally.

On 7th January 2019, Ethereum Classic took the brunt of a malicious attack by hackers who stole around $460,000 in what was called a 51% attack. Hackers gained the ability to ‘reorganise’ a blockchain or even replace one with their own version. On top of this, hackers are now able to ‘double spend’, meaning the same coins can be used several times on different occasions for maleficent transactions.

The volume of coins stolen in 2018 was 3.6 times higher than in 2017 and reached $1.7bn.

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Hadi Khatib
By Hadi Khatib
Hadi Khatib is a business editor with more than 15 years' experience delivering news and copy of relevance to a wide range of audiences. If newsworthy and actionable, you will find this editor interested in hearing about your sector developments and writing about it.



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