The world's number-one digital asset, bitcoin, has entered bear-market territory, having dropped 20% from its all-time high of around $69,000, as fears over the new Omicron coronavirus variant threw global investors into a panic.
The price of bitcoin fell below $54,000, marking a daily drop of nearly 8%. The slide to $54,321 brought it to its lowest level since early October.
Other cryptocurrencies were also down, with ether, the second-biggest, dropping over 10% to $4,059, and XPR falling 9.9% to under 95 cents. Others, such as dogecoin, dropped 8.3%, while shiba inu is down nearly 5%.
The major drop is attributed to a new, heavily mutated variant of the coronavirus. The new strain, named Omicron, was first reported to the World Health Organization on Wednesday.
Mounting concerns over the new variant promptly evoked strict travel bans across the globe, with flights from South Africa and several neighboring states being barred by a growing number of nations.
The news also triggered selloffs in riskier assets, with stock markets around the world registering a decline earlier this week. US Treasury yields moved sharply lower, while bond yields moved inversely to prices. European stocks endured their worst session in more than a year, while US stock futures were sharply down.
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