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Retail interest in crypto is waning as investors look for the next big mover

One of the top stories of hope for cryptocurrency investors is that there will be a major shift in public perception that will spark a new wave of capital from retail and institutional traders.

Unfortunately for these hopeful bulls, data suggests that the opposite has been happening for almost a year, a fact evidenced by the declining rate of searches for the term Bitcoin (BTC) on Google.

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Google search volume for bitcoin. Source: Google Trends

A similar pattern is evident when looking at search interest for top smart contract platform Ethereum (ETH), which peaked in the second week of May 2021 and has been declining ever since. Ethereum search interest is currently at its lowest level since December 2020.

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Google search volume for Ethereum. Source: Google Trends

Based on this information, it might be time for crypto investors to reevaluate where the next big upside for the market will come from, as it is clear that retail interest is tied to large price movements to a large extent.

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BTC/USDT vs ETH/USDT 1-day chart. Source: TradingView

Weak exchange volumes

Further evidence of the waning interest in cryptocurrencies can be found by looking at the total exchange trading volume across the major exchanges. According to data from Blockchain.com, this metric stood at $165.8 billion as of April 19, the lowest since October 2020.

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Total Exchange Traded Volume in USD. Source: Blockchain

Growth in decentralized finance (DeFi) and decentralized exchanges (DEXes) is also declining, according to data from Dune Analytics.

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Monthly DEX volume by project. Source: Dune Analytics

As can be seen from the chart above, the volume of DEXs is currently below the amount traded in January 2021 when the bull run was just beginning and the DeFi sector as a whole was breaking out.

Related: Coinbase announces beta of socially engaged NFT marketplace

NFTs heat up

The only source of hope across the cryptocurrency ecosystem is the non-fungible token (NFT) sector, which has seen an increase in daily trading volume on OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace, after bottoming out in early March, according to data from Dune Analytics.

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Daily volume on OpenSea. Source: Dune Analytics

As activity in the NFT markets increases, the reserve prices of some of the top projects are also increasing, suggesting that momentum for the NFT sector is picking up. This could be partly due to the attention that projects like the Bored Ape Yacht Club and its recently released ApeCoin (APE) have received in the mainstream press.

It remains to be seen if the hype and speculation being generated in the NFT market can expand into increased inflows throughout the cryptocurrency ecosystem, or if the emerging sector is destined to do so, like the ICO boom/bust cycle bursting into flames in 2017–2018.

On the mainstream adoption front, it looks like crypto investors are still searching for that killer DApp or use case that will start the next round of widespread influx into the market.

The views and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should do your own research when making a decision.