Bitcoin crashes 9%, down 20% from record highs as new variant spooks investors

The new variant of coronavirus, first found in Southern Africa, is roiling global markets, with its impact resounding across markets incuding cryptocurrencies.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency fell as much as 9% to $53,552 on Friday. It is currently trading lower by 7.30% at $54,695 at the time of publishing this report

Ether, the second-largest digital currency, dropped more than 12%, currently trading 9.69% lower at $4,087. Other coins such as Dogecoin dropped 8.3% while Shiba Inu is down nearly 5%

Bitcoin tumbled 20% from the record high it notched earlier this month. The world’s largest cryptocurrency has been under pressure since reaching a record of almost $69,000 earlier this month on enthusiasm over the first US exchange-traded fund linked to futures on the digital asset. It is currently sitting near its 100-day moving average of $53,940, which served as support during its late-September pullback.

A new variant identified in southern Africa spurred liquidations across global markets, with European stocks falling the most since July and US equity benchmarks also lower in early trading. Bitcoin wasn’t spared from the carnage despite being seen by many crypto enthusiasts as a hedge against financial-market turmoil.

The variant news that roiled markets wasn’t the only negative factor weighing on Bitcoin. Coming into this week, analysts cited a number of crypto obstacles including US tax-reporting requirements for digital currencies, China’s intensifying regulatory clampdown, and India’s sights on a new bill that could ban most private cryptocurrencies.

(With inputs from agencies)

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