Bitcoin, Ethereum Rebound Amid Rise of Omicron COVID-19 Variant

Bitcoin, Ethereum Rebound Amid Rise of Omicron COVID-19 Variant

Bitcoin, Ethereum, and the U.S. stock market have all mounted a hefty recovery Monday morning.

The two leading cryptocurrencies are up 4.4% and 5.4%, respectively. The entire market capitalization for the crypto industry is up 4.2% at press time, totalling $2.72 trillion. This figure is still roughly $300 billion shy of the industry’s all-time high.

The top movers on the day remain buzzy metaverse tokens, including The Sandbox (SAND) and Gala (GALA). SAND is currently up 15.5% and GALA is up 13.7% over the past 24 hours.

This morning’s surge comes after a bearish close on Friday after reports of a new COVID-19 variant emerged. Bitcoin and Ethereum both dropped by 6.5% and 8.1%, respectively.

Called Omicron, the World Health Organization (WHO) categorized the new COVID strain as a “variant of concern” rather than one “of interest.” Omicron has raised alarms across the medical community due to its large number of mutations.

It has yet to be determined whether these mutations affect how easily the variant spreads, if the illness it causes is especially severe, or if the variant is resistant to current vaccines.

Gathering this information “will take days to several weeks,” reported the WHO.

On Sunday, medical experts in South Africa, where cases of Omicron first appeared, however, reported that symptoms have so far been “extremely mild.”

Spooked markets recalculate omicron risk

News that this variant may not be as lethal as previously thought may have sparked optimism in financial markets.

Markets have since settled as leading cryptocurrencies and the wider stock market recovered some of the losses last week. Still, market watchers are hesitant to put the new variant behind them as the WHO continues to gather more information.

“Despite the irresistible pull of buying-the-dip on tenuous early information on omicron, we are just one negative omicron headline away from going back to where we started,” said a market analyst at the Forex platform Oanda, Jeffrey Halley.

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