Online searches for ‘cryptocurrency’ rise sharply during pandemic

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Vietnamese’s Google search interest for cryptocurrency increased sharply during the pandemic. — File Photo

HÀ NỘI — Google searches for “cryptocurrency” increased sharply in recent years as Vietnamese sought investment channels, especially during the pandemic with social distancing measures in place, which forced people to stay home.

A recent report of Google showed that the total number of searches via Google in Việt Nam rose by 37 per cent from 2021 against 2019. Searches for financial investment-related keywords in general and “cryptocurrency” in particular were among the keywords that saw the highest increases over the same period.

The trend of searching for “cryptocurrency” emerged at the end of 2020 and reached its peak in May 2021, with the number of searches for “tiền điện tử” (cryptocurrency) jumping by 115 per cent in 2021 compared to the pre-pandemic period.

In May 2021, the number of searches for “cryptocurrency” was around four times higher than in mid-2019. Although there was a decline after that, the keyword remained significantly higher than in the pre-pandemic period.

The southern province of Tiền Giang had the highest number of Google searches for “cryptocurrency,” nearly doubling Quảng Ninh, the northern province which came second.

Other provinces in the top five were Ninh Bình, Đắc Nông and Đắk Lắk while major cities including Hà Nội, HCM City, Đà Nẵng and Hải Phòng were all in the top 20.

Hà Nội, HCM City, Đà Nẵng, Đắk Nông and Gia Lai were localities with the highest number of searches for the keyword “bitcoin.”

Searches for “bitcoin” saw an increase by 38 per cent and peaked in May 2021.

The report showed that Vietnamese had more search interest in “bitcoin” than “cryptocurrency.”

During the pandemic, Vietnamese were more interested in investing, especially the rural population, according to the report.

Search interest in “chứng khoán” (stocks) also grew by over 106 per cent.

A report of Chainalysis in 2021 showed that Việt Nam ranked first in the Global Crypto Adoption Index.

Chainalysis quoted Bình Nguyễn, the RMIT Fintech – Crypto Hub coordinator, saying that many in the country were using cryptocurrency to preserve their savings for the long term or protect against inflation, noting that there was relatively low cryptocurrency adoption in poor and remote areas.

“Young people here don’t have many options for investing. We don’t have a well-developed financial market for ETFs, options, or futures and the stock brokerage penetration rate is lower than 5 per cent in Việt Nam,” said Bình. “If you have $5,000 to invest, there aren’t many other places to put it.”

Bình expressed hope that with clearer regulatory direction from the Government, Việt Nam’s cryptocurrency market could mature.

In June 2021, the Prime Minister approved the e-Government development strategy toward a digital government in 2021-25. The State Bank of Việt was in charge of studying the pilot implementation of blockchain-based electronic currencies in 2021-23.

The Ministry of Finance in April 2020 set up a group to study and raise recommendations about management policies for digital assets and digital currencies.

Investing in cryptocurrencies has not been licensed in Việt Nam and has not been recognised as a legal means of payment in the country. — VNS

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