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7 December 2023
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Room To Grow: Retail Interest in Bitcoin At Yearly High But Still Way Below 2017 Levels

Comparing charts for Bitcoin trends during the previous bull market in 2017 and the current one exhibits a few stark differences.

Three years ago, Bitcoin prices were just cooling off from a surge to an all-time high of $20,000. The altcoins had yet to peak, but this would come in the first week of January.

Fast forward three years and Bitcoin prices are just cooling off from a new all-time high of $28,400 on Sunday, December 27 according to Tradingview.com.

Those that stood their ground and battled through the brutal two-year bear market will have done well. But many that FOMO’d into cryptocurrencies in 2017, possibly getting burnt in the process during that hard and fast selloff in early 2018, appear to be disinterested this time around.

No Retail Surge For Bitcoin

According to Skew analytics, taking data from Google Trends, there has been no spike in interest from retail markets during this Bitcoin rally.

ICOs were a big driver of crypto fever back in 2017 as new projects and blockchains appeared almost daily. Heavy-handed regulation quashed most of them the following year and altcoins crashed, many of which have never recovered.

Interest over time – ‘buy bitcoin’. Source: Google Trends

That aspect has been different in 2020 and most cryptocurrencies, aside from the stalwarts and those related to DeFi, have been slow to recover. Bitcoin has been dominating markets and the capital inflow has not come from retail traders, it has come from institutions.

Analyst Josh Rager does not think there will be much retail attention until prices climb much higher than current levels;

“Personally, don’t think retail will pay attention to Bitcoin until the next big psychological price point $50,000. Besides one friend who asked near $20k – I don’t know of any other no-coiners talking about Bitcoin. We’re still far from the top,”

There is also the notion that many retail traders may be more cash strapped this time around due to the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The next chart posted by Skew shows the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust as an example of institutional domination. Since the same time last year, the institutional-grade fund has surged by around 450% in terms of assets under management which currently stands at $16.3 billion according to its last tweet.

Institutions Buying Ethereum

Bitcoin is not the only fruit, and greater gains may be possible with other dominant digital assets such as Ethereum. Researcher Ryan Watkins predicts that there will be major institutional interest in Ethereum in 2021.

Bitcoin is the store of value and hedge against destructive economic policies and money printing, whereas Ethereum is an entire base layer for a new financial landscape in DeFi and now staking opportunities. Both are generating a lot of momentum at the moment and the big boys are paying attention.

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