- Search data on popular research platform TradingView suggest that Cubans are more interested in crypto assets than stocks and shares.
- The data looked at searches for cryptocurrencies as a proportion of those for a broad range of assets, between November 2020 and January 2021.
- However, Nigeria and India, which were thought to be hotbeds of interest, are not in the Top 10 most active countries, search-wise.
Cryptocurrency, especially Bitcoin (BTC), is the most sought-after asset in communist Cuba, and crypto-related inquiries from Libya, Syria, and Palestine are also booming, according to data shared today with Decrypt, by leading investment research platform TradingView.
“This data suggests [that] countries experiencing hardship right now seem to be the ones most interested in cryptocurrency,” said James Maddison, Head of UK at TradingView.
The data pinpoints the BTC/USD pair as the most popular onsite search and provides a snapshot of the crypto market and trading interest between November and January 2021—a period of unprecedented market growth and interest in crypto assets.
In that time, TradingView became the 73rd most visited website in the world, thanks to the explosion in retail trading that’s engulfed the crypto market since big-name investors, such as Michael Sawyer, became involved.
To understand where in the world most inquiries about cryptocurrencies were coming from, TradingView researchers pulled together data from over 27 million search queries from the platform’s users.
While the United States wins in terms of the sheer volume of inquiries, it’s a different picture when the proportion of searches related to crypto is compared to those for stocks, shares, other tradable assets.
By this metric, Cuba takes the top spot, and Libya, Syria, and the Palestinian Territory all feature in the Top 10. This suggests a “correlation between countries which rank lower on the Human Freedom Index”—which measures personal, civil, and economic freedom, and interest in digital assets, according to the researchers.
In Cuba, interest in cryptocurrency has seen an increase of 12.2% since last year, according to the research. It’s also likely that the real figure is far in excess of that given by TradingView, as many Cubans use VPNs to prevent detection. Citizens live with not only rampant inflation but also a high level of financial censorship.
Recently, the pandemic and US sanctions have meant that Cubans’ access to foreign currencies is heavily curtailed, and that has increased the appeal of cryptocurrencies, many of which act as censorship-resistant stores of value.
Middle Eastern countries feature prominently among those with the most crypto searches. Many have seen their economies take a dive, and are worried political controls could further threaten economic stability. The makeup of the list suggests “that countries with high levels of instability are proportionally more interested in digital assets than more developed nations,” according to the researchers.
But India, which has been tipped as a hotbed for cryptocurrency adoption, was last on the Trading View list, with only 6.7% of searches devoted to crypto-assets—even though it’s one of the most active countries on the TradingView platform.
The researchers put the muted interest down to proposed laws, which ban cryptocurrencies and are under active consideration. However, another country, Nigeria, which features prominently in Google Trends analysis for Bitcoin searches, and where foreign exchange has also dried up, doesn’t make it into TradingView’s most actively searching countries either.
TradingView’s data covered more than 6,000 cryptocurrency pairs. Unsurprisingly, Bitcoin and Ethereum (ETC,) paired with USD or Tether (TUSD)—often used to convert fiat to crypto—comprised the most popular searches. BTC/USD was 0.14% of all searches across all assets on the site. But XRP, Chainlink (LINK,) Cardano (ADA), and Litecoin (LTC) are also prominent on the list of top 20 most searched pairings.
One of the more surprising findings of the TradingView study was Finland's second-place position for crypto searches after Cuba. It’s, perhaps, not a country known for its crypto footprint, but the customs agency there has been preparing to offload a stash of Bitcoin—which is now worth around $94 million. Perhaps it was them?