The price of Bitcoin plummeted 10% in 12 hours and the cryptocurrency market lost almost $300 billion on Friday as a new coronavirus variant created fear across markets around the world.
After climbing to as high as $59,400 late Thursday, the price of Bitcoin dove to $53,500 around 7 a.m. EDT (1200GMT) on Friday for a 10% decline, according to data calculated by Anadolu Agency.
Ethereum, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency, fell 14% to $3,910, from $4,550, during that period. Some altcoins fell as much as 20% in half a day before showing some limited recovery.
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The total value of the crypto market decreased to $2.39 trillion, from $2.68 trillion, losing a staggering $290 billion, according to data by digital asset price-tracking website CoinMarketCap.
The sudden decline came amid investors’ fears that a new coronavirus variant known as B.1.1.529 in South Africa could cause new quarantine measures, closure of businesses, and halt global economic recovery.
#Bitcoin & Ether rally but Bitcoin bull Mike Novogratz warns Jerome Powell's 2nd Fed stint could bring pain for crypto prices. Novogratz said Powell may now feel freer to tackle inflation by tightening MonPolicy. Would slow assets down, incl crypto & tech. https://t.co/Q8H2JnMLCm pic.twitter.com/LTOkAHTzAj
— Holger Zschaepitz (@Schuldensuehner) November 25, 2021
The World Health Organization (WHO) convened earlier Friday a special meeting to discuss the new variant, noting that it was detected “at a remarkable speed,” and it will take a few weeks to understand its impact.
“Early analysis shows that this variant has a large number of mutations that require and will undergo further study,” WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told a UN news conference.
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Amid uncertainty and fear, Asian stock markets lost around 2%, while European stock exchanges dove more than 3%.
Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk