A quick look at Google Trends shows the number of searches for “bitcoin" has increased 20-fold since Christmas 2016. The normalized data shows that there were some months in 2013 and 2014 when the number of people searching for information on the digital currency picked up, but that interest did not hold for long. The game changed in 2017. Google searches for “bitcoin" showed gradual improvement, and then took off vertically after November. The interest was no doubt correlated to the sharp rise in bitcoin prices this year.

Meanwhile, a new survey of European economists undertaken by the Centre for Macroeconomics and the Centre for Economic Policy Research tells us two things. Most of the surveyed economists do not believe bitcoin is a threat to financial stability because of its limited usage in economic transactions, but they said the use of the cryptocurrency for tax evasion means that greater regulatory oversight is needed. Expect more on the latter front in the coming year—not just in other parts of the world but in India as well.

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