“A lot of Bitcoin’s value derives from how we envision it within the depths of the internet”
It’s not preposterous to credit the rise of Bitcoin to social media. After all, the first ever Bitcoin transaction, for the sale of two pizzas, happened on an online forum. And soon enough the internet equipped everyone with a DIY tutorial to make their own cryptocurrency — the choice advice here being, “The first step is to find a community and build a currency around them rather than building a currency and expecting everyone to show up.”
As part of the US Consumer Trends Report, this article dives into the social conversation surrounding digital payments and helps contextualize Bitcoin’s position in the consumer consciousness.
The first piece of this puzzle is privacy.
What do people talk about when they talk about Bitcoin?
Of the 9.8 million posts dedicated to Bitcoin between 2010 and 2016, a substantial chunk (400k) discussed its credibility as a private and secure means to transact.
If your company advocates for consumer privacy and protection, and you haven’t integrated Bitcoin as payment option, you’re being insincere.
— Erik Voorhees (@ErikVoorhees) June 25, 2015
— wolverine (@Wolverineks) March 18, 2014
This explains why, unlike PayPal and Venmo, the two other services analyzed for our report, Bitcoin conversation is dominated by joy. While users acknowledged Bitcoin’s flaws, the cryptocurrency is seen as the better choice for secure transactions. This is reflected in the positive consumer sentiment associated with Bitcoin. This perception is emboldened by those paranoid (200k) that government regulations will impede Bitcoin use and innovation.
Is the Price Right?
The bulk of the Bitcoin conversation was about the currency’s price. Around 1.6 million posts discussed Bitcoin’s fluctuating prices, its performance, and the best times to buy and/or sell bitcoins. Indeed, the social conversation volume for Bitcoin very closely matches the dips and rises of Bitcoin prices.
Bitcoin — the new equity?
While the Bitcoin market is open 24/7, our analysis of the conversation data showed that it follows some similar patterns to the stock market. People choose to trade at the most opportune times in hopes of maximizing their profit. The “high risk, high reward” principle from stock trading is also applied to Bitcoin.
Using social media conversations could help in identifying the outlying trends before they emerge — The Bitcoin story testifies for this. With a pulse on public perceptions, social insights are a great window for looking at the big picture.
This is a part of our series exploring emerging US consumer trends.