For this article, we employed the use of Google Trends to discover which altcoin names are still relatively popular search terms on the internet, in an attempt to locate coins that might be ripe for purchase if a bull market should manifest itself any time soon.

Using Google Trends to Identify Popular Altcoins

 

The technological advent of cryptocurrency is now over a full decade old, and with the market again surging in the new year, it’s a great time to take a look at some coins which may be poised for massive breakthroughs in 2020. Last year was great for bitcoin (BTC); however, altcoins did not fare nearly as well. While the price of BTC has more than doubled over the course of the last year, the market cap of all altcoins has only grown by 11% in comparison. As a result, bitcoin has surged in dominance of the total market cap, from 53% in early January 2019 to its current 68%.

Altcoins in general had a pretty lackluster 2019 compared to bitcoin. Source: coinmarketcap.com

 

We’ve discussed the issue a few times previously as to why altcoins – and bitcoin to a certain extent – failed to take off dramatically in 2019. If you remember, 2018 was pretty much a year of unwinding for the markets, after having been (what is only now obviously) over-enthusiastically priced in late 2017 / early 2018. So what is the holdup exactly? Well, the crypto market has long been driven by speculation, and is still waiting for user adoption to really set in. Indeed, some coins have viable, readily employable use cases, while some are purely speculative and driven only by well-coordinated pumps.

The question is now posed: in the search for altcoin bargains, now that all coins are down from their all-time highs, how does one sort coins with real value and strong communities from those that were simply pump n’ dump projects (or otherwise destined to fail) from the get go?

Reasoning stands that once-popular coins with technical or business-related merit behind them should retain some popularity over the years, regardless of their negative price movement. One way to get a measure of the current popularity of any given coin is to take a look at its interest as a Google search term over time. Coins with general words as names (such as Dash, Stellar, NEO) are hard to measure by this standard, but many others aren’t.

Using Google Trends, we compared some of the biggest coins by market cap to see which ones have more relative interest than others as compared to their interest at the height of the crypto bubble, which was nearly exactly two years ago today. As an example of how things work, here is a measurement of the relative popularity for the word “bitcoin” as a search term over the last 365 days; the score being 100 in January 2018 and 18 as of today.

Relative interest in “bitcoin” as a search term over the last 2 years. Source: Google Trends

 

This signifies that, on a worldwide scale, the word “bitcoin” is only being searched for at 18% of the amount that it was exactly two years ago. This may seem low, but this number was all the way down to 12 through most of February and March of 2019, which means search interest for “bitcoin” is actually up 50% since then. This uptrend suggests that bitcoin’s worldwide popularity is currently on the rise, even though it is only a fraction of what it was in January 2018.

So, which of the many established altcoins are seeing a trend in rising Google search popularity as well? The answer may surprise you. Keep in mind that the score for most coins was 100 on January 10th, 2018, so by comparing their current numbers we can get an idea of which ones have retained some popularity, or whose popularity may currently be on the rise. Only coins that:

  • have unique names that don’t overlap with non-crypto related searches,
  • are at least two years old, and
  • are currently in the top 100 coins by market cap

were included for purposes of providing an accurate comparison.

Top Altcoins Relative Search Interest on Google

  • Aeternity* (AE) – 8
  • Basic Attention Token (BAT) – 14
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH) – 30
  • Bitcoin Diamond (BCD) – 4
  • BitShares (BTS) – 5
  • Bytecoin* (BYTE) – 2
  • Cardano (ADA) – 15
  • Decentraland (MANA) – 15
  • Decred (DCR) – 5
  • DigiByte (DGB) – 6
  • DigixDAO (DGD) – 2
  • Dogecoin (DOGE) – 11
  • Electroneum (ETN) – 7
  • Ethereum (ETH) – 9
  • Ethereum Classic* (ETC) – 14
  • IOST (IOST) – 3
  • Litecoin (LTC) – 11
  • MaidSafeCoin (MAID) – 15
  • MonaCoin (MONA) – 4
  • Monero (XMR) – 13
  • OmiseGO (OMG) – 5
  • Qtum (QTUM) – 3
  • Siacoin (SC) – 1
  • Steem (STEEM) – 19
  • Tezos* (XTZ) – 28
  • VeChain (VET) – 9
  • XRP (XRP) – 25
  • Zcash (ZEC) – 9
  • Zilliqa* – 4

*XTZ reached its peak search term popularity in July 2018, MANA in August 2018, ETC in August 2018, BYTE in May 2018, ZIL in May 2018, and AE also in May 2018. All other coins were at their most popular in early January 2018.

Out of these 29 coins, the average score is 11, and the standard deviation is 8.5, meaning coins with a search interest score of over 19 are the ones that truly stand out from the others in terms of current popularity, and have been highlighted in bold. This also places them over bitcoin’s relative search term interest score of 18. Somewhat surprisingly, there are only 4 coins that fall into this category, so we will review them now to see what has potentially helped them to retain their popularity.

LogoRipple (XRP)

Relative interest: 25

Current price: $0.211

Banking-friendly coin Ripple (now commonly referred to simply as “XRP”) is actually one of the oldest altcoins, and has been consistently ranked as one of the biggest by market cap since it was first traded in the crypto markets, in August 2013. Though often criticized for its centralized and rather closed-door nature, Ripple was designed to help banks be able to convert funds between different currencies and move them around the globe far faster than traditional methods allowed. Like most altcoins, its price sits at only a fraction of its all-time high, yet still continues to make tremendous strides in development. Last year, the Ripple Labs team released a system update that allows it to process up to 50,000 transactions per second, making it far more scalable than any other cryptocurrency. As it strives to be legally compliant and already has major institutions like Banco Santander as clients, XRP is primed to see future adoption by banks around the world, which explains its continued interest as a search term.

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Bitcoin Cash (BCH)

Relative interest: 30

Current price: $270.50

The Roger Ver-led fork coin has been in the #4 spot for quite a while, and its price saw an encouraging 14% rise in the last 24 hours. Even though it has been pretty stagnant for the last year, its community remains strong, determined to make headway in terms of increasing adoption. It has managed to do this in large part through avid support from BitPay, which not only allows tens of thousands of online merchants to accept BCH as a payment method, but allows customers to load a debit card with BCH as well. Bitcoin Cash was under the radar through most of 2019, as it was overshadowed by its far more vocal and dramatic offshoot, Bitcoin SV. It may never “flip” BTC in market cap, as was originally the plan, but it is still plowing ahead in its mission to deliver a more scalable version of bitcoin, undeterred by an increasingly crowded arena of competition.

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Tezos (XTZ)

Relative interest: 30

Current price: $1.34

Interestingly, Tezos was at its most popular (in terms of Google searches) for several months before its protocol was finally launched. Now minting its own coins (in a process called “baking”), Tezos describes itself as a “self-amending crypto-ledger” which uses a sophisticated Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) consensus algorithm. It aims to be developer-friendly, written in a programming language which makes it hard to introduce errors and unintended consequences during dApp development. 2019 was a big year for Tezos. For one, it was added to mega exchange Coinbase, which allows customers to stake their holdings there in order to earn more XTZ. Perhaps more importantly, the Central Bank of France has plans to issue its digital currency on the Tezos platform in the next few months, which could see the XTZ rise in value considerably. France’s cyber crime law enforcement division has also been using the Tezos blockchain to validate judicial expenses incurred during investigations, making it one of the more government use case-friendly coins around.

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Steem (STEEM)

Relative interest: 19

Current price: $0.124

Last but not least is Steem, a social media platform-driven blockchain that rewards content creators in the form of their native currency, STEEM. Over the last couple of years, steemit.com has established itself as an incentivized alternative to platforms like Reddit. Unlike several blockchain-based competitors that have come and gone, the developers behind Steem are committed to keeping its protocol well-oiled, up-to-date, and functioning. Though the website ranking of steemit.com has fallen over the last 3 months, the Steem protocol will soon launch the concept of “immutable communities,” which are divisions of content creators recorded and governed by its blockchain. They are indeed hoping to catch social media influencers that are becoming dissuaded by YouTube and Twitter’s overbearing policies and don’t seem likely to throw in the towel on their project any time soon.