More people are now searching online for how to buy bitcoin than they are searching for how to buy gold, according to a new report.
The surge in the cryptocurrency’s attraction is coinciding with a well-performing U.S. stock market to reduce interest in gold, Bloomberg reports, a traditional safe haven. The news service looked at Google Trends to discover that “buy bitcoin” is now a more popular search term than “buy gold.”
It’s not hard to see why. Gold has appreciated this year by 11%, while bitcoin has gone up more than 600%, hitting $7,400 on the weekend before retreating below $7,000 (it’s $7,193 at the time of writing on Tuesday morning).
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According to a New York Times report, big Wall Street investors are also “pouring their money” into the virtual coin, with the number of hedge funds focusing on cryptocurrencies increasing this year from 30 to almost 130.
The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group said last week that it wanted to start trading bitcoin futures—a move that appeared to give the cryptocurrency greater legitimacy, but that also prompted some to express fears over the implications of bitcoin derivatives, given the low level of regulation in the market.
CME chair Leo Melamed said Tuesday that bitcoin will probably become an asset class like gold or stock. “We will regulate, make bitcoin not wild, nor wilder. We’ll tame it into a regular type instrument of trade with rules,” he told Reuters.
However, regulators still have to give their approval before CME’s plans can go ahead. And there are plenty of people, such as JPMorgan chief Jamie Dimon, who say the whole thing is a bubble that will blow up in investors’ faces.