London (AFP)

The number of searches made on Google with the abbreviation of bitcoin, BTC, has exploded since the end of August, suggesting an attempt to manipulate prices.

Between August 29 and 31, interest in bitcoin increased 50-fold, according to Google Trends. In the first week of September, the number of searches was almost ten times higher than the previous record of December 2017, when bitcoin peaked at nearly $ 20,000.

A very surprising figure insofar as the number of searches made on Google's search engine tends to follow the evolution of prices, rather stable for several weeks.

According to Bendik Norheim Schei, an analyst for Arcane Crypto and author of an article in the online journal Kryptografen, this flight is all about "manipulation".

Several factors reinforce this hypothesis, namely the fact that the increase concerns only the term "BTC", an abbreviation of bitcoin, while the word "bitcoin", much more sought after in the usual period, has not experienced a revival of interest and is about 10 times less successful than in September 2017.

According to Bendik Norheim Schei, who relies on data from Google Trends, the peak of search can be observed in several countries and systematically takes place in the middle of the night, every day at the same time.

In the financial world, some algorithms monitor Google trends to position themselves automatically, and hackers could therefore seek to increase the course using research fake.

Around 13:45 GMT (15:45 in Paris), bitcoin was worth 10,359.44 dollars against 10,356,88 dollars Friday at 21:00 GMT, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

© 2019 AFP