The world’s crypto pioneer, bitcoin, saw a sharp decline of nearly $10,000 in roughly an hour to as low as $42,000 before bouncing back to $45,000, extending the latest downtrend amid the emergence of the Omicron Covid-19 strain.
The price of bitcoin has dropped around $15,000 over the past 24 hours. It was trading at nearly $47,580 as of 08:16 GMT, down 16.14% day over day, having dropped by 31.6% from the year’s high of $69,000, which it reached on November 10.
Meanwhile, ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market value, has declined by about 14% to some $3,942. Both cryptocurrencies have experienced turbulence since the Omicron strain emerged. In late November, bitcoin dropped to a seven-week-low at around $54,000, entering bear-market territory.
The latest drop has also been attributed to the harsh words of US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. On Tuesday, Powell told a Senate panel it was appropriate for the Fed to consider speeding up the taper of asset purchases, and that it was time to retire the word “transitory” when describing inflation.
The decrease in the value of the two leading digital assets reflected a broader plunge in the crypto markets, with some cryptocurrencies dropping by 20% over the past 24 hours.