Bitcoin (BTC) enters the bear market on a new Covid variant

Bitcoin prices fell sharply due to global stock sales.

Luke MacGregor | Bloomberg | Getty pictures

Bitcoin fell sharply with other assets on Friday, reaching a six-week low and officially entering bear market territory.

Bitcoin fell 7% in the last 24 hours to $ 54,561, according to Coin Metrics data, the lowest level since October 8. The cryptocurrency is down 20% from an all-time high of nearly $ 69,000 that it reached earlier this month.

Bear markets are usually defined by a decline of 20% or more from recent peaks.

Other cryptocurrencies also plunged on Friday. Ether, the second largest crypto, fell more than 1[ads1]0% to $ 4007, while XRP fell 10% to around 95 cents.

Digital currencies are falling in line with other risk assets in the midst of panic over a new, highly mutated variant of the coronavirus that was first discovered in South Africa.

On Thursday, the World Health Organization gave a briefing on the new variant, which is known as B.1.1.529 and is believed to contain more than 30 mutations. Britain and other nations have temporarily suspended flights from six African countries in response.

Bitcoin has often been described by its proponents as “digital gold”, a reference to the status of the yellow metal as a so-called safe haven.

Crypto-investors say that the virtual currency offers a value store in addition to a hedge against inflation.

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