You might think the blockchain technology behind cryptocurrencies like bitcoin would be an international phenomenon, seeing as the whole investment world appears currently transfixed by their dramatic price fluctuations.
But in fact, Canadians are more obsessed with blockchain investment than anyone else —and by quite a large margin, too, according to Google Trends, which finds that online searches for “blockchain stocks” are more than twice as common in Canada as they are in any other country.
Amid the Canadian investment landscape, two new sectors have muscled their way onto the scene over the past half-year: marijuana companies and blockchain. Pot stocks on the TSX and TSXV took off in November and haven’t looked back since, while the same is happening to blockchain companies, many of whom are new startups keen to get into the cryptocurrency mining space.
Want an indication that both aren’t just flashes in the pan? Take a look at the big money being thrown at both sectors by major investment banks. Over the past month alone, Vancouver’s HIVE Blockchain received $115 million in financing while Global Blockchain took in $43 million. On the weed side, things are even more eye-popping, as Aurora Cannabis recently announced a $230 million bought deal, while Canopy Growth did the same last week with a $200 million deal. That last one was co-led by BMO Capital Markets, making it the first marijuana company financing underwritten by one of Canada’s big banks.
Internationally, Google Trends shows that Canada stands out when it comes to weed stocks, not too surprising considering the country’s upcoming legalization of recreational pot. But it turns out that blockchain investment is also a Canadian thing.
A Google Trends search for “blockchain stocks” reveals that Canadians show more than twice as much interest in the topic, relative to population size, as compared to the next country in line, the United States. Other countries like Australia, Israel and Singapore fill in the rankings but trail far behind.
What’s interesting is that Canada turns out to be nowhere near the top of the list when it comes to worldwide searches for the term “blockchain” alone. On that mark, we come in only 13th (again, relative to population) behind African countries like Ghana at number one and Nigeria, as well as European states like the Netherlands and Luxembourg. That disparity says something about how much more populated the Canadian market is by blockchain investment and public blockchain companies than other places in the world, even as interest in the broader blockchain technology is more widespread internationally.
Comparing blockchain searches to “cryptocurrency” searches is also revealing, as, historically, both terms trended in tandem worldwide for years, with blockchain showing more popularity right up until September of 2017 when cryptocurrency searches started to outpace blockchain searches — right about when the price of bitcoin really started to take off.
And while “blockchain stocks” may be particularly Canadian, that interest does not seem to be evenly spread across the country, as only four provinces (Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia and, far behind in terms of search volume, Quebec) show up on Google Trends with significant numbers.