Research by economist Joost van der Burgt revealed that Google searches can indicate movements in the price of the cryptocurrency.
Mr van der Burgt, a policy advisor at the Dutch National Bank, compared bitcoin price movements to Google searches for the cryptocurrency and found that there was almost a “perfect match” between the two until bitcoin price plunged at the start of the year.
Mr van der Burgt said the surge in price might not be a coincidence as it was also when bitcoin futures markets were launched.
He added: ”My take on it is that because of the introduction of futures, that might have deflated the bubble before it got to a level where it might burst completely.
"If the buzz is everywhere, it doesn't matter exactly what the news is about… nobody wants to miss out and everybody's trying to get a piece of it.”
Van der Burgt said bitcoin's price movements fell just before the panic phase – but insisted the early movements indicate the start of a price bubble.
He said: ”It wasn't really panic, it was more of a scare.”
Bitcoin price was at $7,056.15 at 21:30 (BST) on Friday, according to CoinDesk. It saw its highest value before Christmas when it reached a monumental price of just under $20,000.
Crypto expert Thomas Lee instead believes there is an “important correlation” between emerging markets and bitcoin.
Mr Lee of Fundstrat Global Advisors said the leading cryptocurrency’s correlation between emerging markets indicates bitcoin could end 2018 “explosively higher” than ever before.
Speaking on CNBC, Mr Lee said: “In general, we thinking mining and fundamental factors like network effect really drive bitcoin’s value. But macro factors have an effect on network value.”
Mr Lee referenced a chart showing two lines – the MSCI emerging markets index relative to the S&P and bitcoin’s price.
He said: “EM actually rallied into the end of the year we had a huge bitcoin rally and as EM has since fallen we have seen bitcoin fall sharply.
Mr Lee said there are two linking factors. He said: “The first is hedge funds, which typically rent emerging markets stock. So they do risk on, risk off. When they are risk off bitcoin also suffers because they are risk off.
“The second reason has to do with wealth effect. Wealth effect means if you’re living in an emerging market and you see your stock market fall hugely it means you have a lot less money to buy bitcoin so that affects the network effect because you can’t buy bitcoin.
“So I think there’s two reason why an emerging markets index actually influences bitcoin.”
The bullish cryptocurrency expert said if the dollar weakens and the Federal Reserve halts its hike rate policy then both areas of the market could surge.
Lastly, Mr Lee said: “I still think it’s possible.”
He added: “Bitcoin could end the year explosively higher.”
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have faced criticism by banks and finance experts, with billionaire Bill Gates telling CNBC he would bet against the bitcoin and short it if he could.
The Microsoft co-founder said: “As an asset class, you're not producing anything and so you shouldn't expect it to go up. It's kind of a pure 'greater fool theory' type of investment.”
He added: “I agree I would short it if there was an easy way to do it.”
Former PayPal CEO Bill Harris also claimed bitcoin is the “greatest scam in history”.
Mr van der Burgt, a policy advisor at the Dutch […]