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Crypto market loses $300B as new Covid variant creates fear

Bitcoin plummeted 10% in 12 hours and the cryptocurrency market lost almost $300 billion on Friday. The sudden decline came amid investors' fears that a new coronavirus variant could cause new quarantine measures, closure of businesses, and halt global economic recovery.

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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.

Read more: Bitcoin heads for worst week in months

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.

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.

Read more: Elon Musk destroys bitcoin again with just one word

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 DeskĀ 

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