The effects of the omicron variant of the coronavirus and the increase in inflation, were strongly felt this Saturday in the cryptocurrency markets.

In the first hours of the day, in the northern hemisphere, bitcoin, the cryptocurrency with the largest capitalization in the world, plummeted more than 20%, before recovering in part and limiting the loss to just over 10%. The crypto lost about US$10,000, or more than 17%, in a 24-hour period from Friday to Saturday.

According to CoinMarketCap, the 3 main cryptocurrencies, measured by market capitalization, registered sharp falls and lost tens of billions of dollars in value.

In those 24 hours, Bitcoin accumulated a loss of 16.85%, Ethereum fell 14.23% and Binance Coin had lost 13.1% of its value. Bitcoin is now down about 30% from its all-time high, reached in early November, which was close to US$69,000. 

Of the 10 cryptocurrencies with the highest value and circulation, all recorded falls. The only two in which the loss was slight are Tether and USD Coin, two stablecoins, with losses of less than 1 percent. The fall of Polkadot exceeded 22%, while Solana, Cardano and Dogecoin registered losses of between 17 and 19 percent. 

The price of bitcoin thus descended to US$47,200, 20% below the records of a month ago. On average, the global cryptocurrency market capitalization fell under US$2.3 trillion, just over 16% below Friday’s close.

Beyond possible speculative maneuvers, the fall reflects the nervousness of world markets about the possible effect on the economy of the omicron variant of COVID-19, since on Friday the World Health Organization said the omicron variant had been detected in 38 countries, up from 23 two days ago, with early data suggesting the strain is more contagious than delta