The key to bitcoin’s next breakout may lie in Google search

The first analyst to follow bitcoin sees a very accessible way to track its next big move.

DataTrek Research's co-Founder, Nick Colas, said recently that the key is looking into Google search and wallet growth.

"By looking at the number of people who search for the word 'bitcoin' on Google, which has roughly a 60 percent market share of search globally, we get a pretty good sense of where the interest is," he told CNBC's "Trading Nation" this week.

"The data does show exactly the same price trends that we saw for the past 90 days," he added.

And, just like the latest search trends, the cryptocurrency's price has been deep in the doldrums. It's been trading in the $10,000 to $12,000 range, off sharply from its record price near $20,000 it hit in December.

"Bitcoin searches have really trailed off. So, the interest levels definitely show you where bitcoin has these big breakouts and then pullbacks," said Colas.

He points to more evidence to support his theory to the bitcoin boom between last Thanksgiving and December 17 — when search traffic saw a significant pick-up as bitcoin prices surged to a record of $19,843.

"Search trends skyrocketed after Thanksgiving here in the U.S. in November of last year — more than doubling in the course of just a couple of weeks," added Colas. "That incremental search for the term 'bitcoin' actually led to an incremental number of wallets being formed, a method by which people hold bitcoin."

But days later, bitcoin prices crashed, and so did searches for it.

Despite bitcoin's troubles, Colas, who owns a quarter of a bitcoin, doesn't think it needs a life raft. He points out that it's still trading higher than before Thanksgiving, and the technology makes a lot of sense long-term.

"From this point on, we just have to look for the beginnings of good news that will re-accelerate wallet growth to make the thing go higher," Colas said.

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Sara Eisen

Sara Eisen joined CNBC in December 2013 as a correspondent, focusing on the global consumer. She is co-anchor of the 10AM ET hour of CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" (M-F, 9AM-11AM ET), broadcast from Post 9 at the New York Stock Exchange.

In March 2018, Eisen was named co-anchor of CNBC's "Power Lunch" (M-F, 1PM-3PM ET), which broadcasts from CNBC Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

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