Summary: Introduction: Since its inception of 2008, Bitcoin has caught the eye of many, including governments, institutions, and the general public. In this time, there have been numerous developments in the cryptocurrency space, some positive, and others negative. On many occasions, investors associate good or bad news about a specific investment product with price performance, and ...

Introduction:

Since its inception of 2008, Bitcoin has caught the eye of many, including governments, institutions, and the general public. In this time, there have been numerous developments in the cryptocurrency space, some positive, and others negative. On many occasions, investors associate good or bad news about a specific investment product with price performance, and believe that if they are the first to pick up on a newsworthy event, then they can long or short the asset appropriately, and make a profit. However, this theory has not been tested with Bitcoin, which is still in its infancy compared to traditional assets such as commodities and equities. It is the goal of this paper to discover the relationship between news media and the price of Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization and recognition. This search will involve an analysis of four types of news: regulatory news, corporate news, celebrity mentions, and traditional media stories. Each category will have its top stories from the past several years analysed in order to see if there is one type of news that increases or decreases Bitcoin’s price more than another. Though the conclusion may not prove with definite evidence or correlation that there is a link between Bitcoin price and news coverage, it will give investors a greater understanding about how all types of media coverage and events impact the nascent cryptocurrency sector. 

Methodology:

One of the most difficult tasks in determining the impact of a news category on an asset’s price is that every story is different in terms of importance, and thus there is an unlimited spectrum across which different stories fall. In order to counteract this effect, each story has been given a ranking, with 1 being the most important and each lower number being less important. This will give the stories with greater significance a higher weighting, and those with a lower significance a lower weighting. Furthermore, a ranking system helps negate the effects of uncorrelated market movement, and helps to remove some of the coincidental price changes. The rankings were chosen by the authors, and are thus subject to debate, but should be agreeable by the general public for the most part. An improvement upon this research would use a more concrete method of ranking the stories, which would prove difficult without lots of data about previous news pieces and their price impacts, which would require machine learning and artificial intelligence. 

Once each story is ranked in terms of its importance, the absolute value of the percentage change in Bitcoin before and one day after the news was announced is calculated, and is multiplied by the weighting. Each story has a rating of (y-x+1)/y, where x is the story’s rating and y is the total number of stories. For example, in a category with 5 articles, the top story will have a rating of (5/5) = 1, the second story will have a rating of (5-2+1)/5 = 4/5 = 0.8, and so on. The final result for each category will see a weighted average of news stories and their average impact on the price, which will give an indication of how important the market values those types of stories. 

Analysis:

Corporate News:

Mathematical calculation: 

1 * 19.48 + 4/5 * 12.32 + 3/5 * 8.31 + 2/5 * 1.3 + 1/5 * 1.255=7.0184%

In our sample of five of the most important stories in the corporate news sector, there was a 7.02% difference in the price of Bitcoin on the day before and after the news broke. Four of the stories were about companies such as Tesla, Square, and Grayscale buying Bitcoin, and one story was about Tesla stopping Bitcoin payments. The spreadsheet with the entire list of stories and their rankings can be found in the bibliography of the paper. This number is significant, as it means that large companies entering or exiting the Bitcoin ecosystem sways the price dramatically in the short-term. The sample size for this type of news was small, as there are not many companies entering and exiting the space frequently. In the future, as more and more companies add Bitcoin to their balance sheet, it will be interesting to analyze if this number increases or decreases. 

The most significant story in this category was Tesla's acquisition of $1.5 billion in Bitcoin, which saw a near-20% increase in the Bitcoin price after it was announced. 

There are not enough stories in this category to make a statistically significant conclusion, however the evidence points to the fact that corporate interest in Bitcoin significantly adds to its volatility. 

Regulatory News:

Mathematical Calculation:

 1*9.65+.9*11.06+.8*1.24+.7*6.12+.6*3.56+.5*.20+.4*.71

+.3*1.92+.2*4.35+.1*4.2410=2.927%

This category, which was initially thought to have one of the highest impacts on the price of Bitcoin, does not seem to have a massive impact day-to-day. Granted, this is still significantly greater than the average daily Bitcoin value change from 2010-2018, according to this tweet. Data could not be found from 2019-2021, however it is expected to be similar in range to the available data. Thus, for day traders and active investors, watching regulatory news is important, as it has signaled a large price change as found in the data. Ten stories were used for this analysis, which is the most of any category, meaning that there is less inherent sampling bias in this data, and it is more likely to be fully accurate. Thus, even though the percentage change is not as high as some of the other categories, it is more likely to be accurate. 

As the threat of regulation becomes ever-increasing in the United States and abroad, this data trend could prove incredibly useful in timing the market and making predictions about future price movement. The data suggests that volatility and regulatory news have a correlation with one another, though this could not be explicitly proven without hundreds, if not thousands, of data sources and price points. 

Celebrity Mention:

Mathematical Calculation: 1*4.70+.75*6.8+.5*7.45+.25*7.454=3.84%

Celebrity mentions of Bitcoin impact the price of the digital asset by a weighted average of 3.84% according to the data sources. This is an interesting number, as there are many factors to consider. First, there are many definitions of a celebrity, so this data only takes financial and influential mentions as data sources. If it used other mentions, such as Kim Kardashian’s mention of Ethereum Max or Snoop Dogg’s NFT release, there may be a different result. This data used mentions from Elon Musk, Cathie Wood, Mayor Francis Suarez, and Bill Gates, among others. These individuals are influential in finance and cryptocurrencies, while also being known by the general public. If more data points were added, and the definition of a celebrity was broadened, it is likely that the association between Bitcoin volatility and mentions would decrease. This is due to there being thousands, if not tens of thousands, of celebrities around the world who have mentioned Bitcoin in some regard, whether it be positive, negative or neutral, and the majority of celebrities do not have enough following or reporting from mainstream news for their mentions to be noteworthy, thus they would not move the price by any significant margin. 

This category, even though it has one of the higher percent changes, is one of the most difficult to accurately predict beforehand. Without reporting from news outlets, celebrities are the same as regular people, in the sense that their mere mention of cryptocurrencies does not warrant a price change. Thus, celebrity mentions are meaningless without proper news coverage and reporting, and determining which celebrities are newsworthy is even more difficult than determining the impact their statement will have on the price of Bitcoin.

Traditional Media:

Mathematical Calculation: 1*15.20 + .66 * 15.94 + .33 * 2.743=8.875%

After news from traditional media outlets was reported, the price of Bitcoin changed significantly, with a weighted average change of 8.875%. This number may seem incredibly high, but there are many confounding variables. In most cases, mainstream media follows trends, so when a news site posts a story about Bitcoin or how to buy Bitcoin, it typically follows a massive price rally, which will either continue or correct significantly after a story is published. Furthermore, only three stories were chosen for this section, each representing the first time the Wall Street Journal, CNBC, and CNN reported on Bitcoin during the 2017 bullrun. This is because repeated stories about the same subject do not have the same impact on an asset. The first time Bitcoin was featured in mainstream media in a positive light was a milestone for the cryptocurrency community, yet now there is not a day that goes by without one of these three media giants mentioning Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies. With so little data, and little future data expected as almost every major news outlet covers Bitcoin extensively, there is little use for this data in predicting future price movements. Nonetheless, it is an interesting study into how mainstream media initially impacted Bitcoin’s price during its initial rise to becoming a household name.

Conclusion:

In the process of evaluating hundreds of news stories, sorting them into relevant categories, and weighting the most important to calculate an average percentage change, it has been found that the news does have a significant impact on the percentage change in Bitcoin, regardless of the category. For news relating to corporations and their adoption of Bitcoin, there is a weighted average price change of around 7%. For regulatory news, the weighted price change is 2%. For celebrity mentions, the weighted price change is 3.84%, and the first reporting of Bitcoin from mainstream media had a near-9% impact on the price. This is compared to the average daily price change for Bitcoin, which is always less than 1% in either the positive or negative direction.

Though this data is compelling, it is far from conclusive and cannot prove causation between news and data, though it does suggest a level of correlation. There is also a sampling bias, as it is impossible to accurately rate news stories based on importance without using some level of subjectivity. In future analysis, more data points, sampling from random individuals to rank the importance of stories, and more accurate statistical modelling could be used to find a more accurate result. Still, regardless of what methods are employed, finding the objective truth in data that is entirely human-driven is difficult, and would require an understanding of not only statistics but also human psychology and the movement of the markets. 

The biggest takeaway from this report is the importance of news and cryptocurrency media in the price volatility of Bitcoin. Like with any asset, news moves Bitcoin, thus any investors looking to capitalize on day-to-day movement may have an advantage over other investors by knowing which types of news change the price the most on a day-to-day basis. 

Works Cited

https://twitter.com/lopp/status/1079444629488046081?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1NkTzWj15V1DwvyagoJzJz1IXv_5YFS-g4CvQ7PFXdig/edit?usp=sharing