The number of searches carried out on Google with the abbreviation of bitcoin, BTC, has exploded since the end of August, in what experts have seen as an attempt to manipulate prices.
Between 29 and 31 August, interest in Bitcoin increased by a factor of 50, according to the Google Trends website, Belga reports. In the first week of September, the number of searches was almost ten times higher than the previous record set in December 2017, when Bitcoin had peaked at almost $20,000.
According to Bendik Norheim Schei, an analyst for Arcane Crypto and author of an article in the online trade journal Kryptografen, this surge is a “manipulation”.
Several elements reinforce this hypothesis, in particular, the fact that the increase concerns only the term “BTC”, an abbreviation of bitcoin, while the word “bitcoin”, which is much more popular in the usual period, has not been renewed and is about 10 times less successful than in September 2017.
According to Schei the peak search can be seen in several countries and systematically takes place in the middle of the night, every day and at the same time.
In the financial world, some algorithms monitor Google trends to automatically position themselves, so hackers may seek to drive prices up through bogus searches. At around 13:45 GMT (15:45 in Brussels), the Bitcoin was worth $10,359.44 compared to $10,356.88 on Friday at 21:00 GMT, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The Brussels Times