‘Omicron’ Crypto Token Surges Over 900% as New Covid-19 Variant Gets WHO Recognition


It’s 2021 and anything and everything is a cryptocurrency token. As global markets fell last week on news of the new Omicron coronavirus variant, one cryptocurrency with the same name soared after the Greek letter entered the investor lexicon. The price of the hitherto-obscure digital token, whose Twitter feed has little more than 1,000 followers, rose almost ten-fold from Friday to Monday morning when it hit $688, before tumbling as much as 75%, crypto tracker CoinGecko said. Omicron the token, which its website describes as “a decentralized treasury-backed currency protocol,” was trading at about $371. On Thursday it was worth about $65. The World Health Organization, which on Friday named the new COVID-19 variant Omicron, said as more countries reported cases it carries a “very high” global risk of surges, although scientists have said it could take weeks to understand its severity.

Currently, Tuesday morning 11:22 AM (+5:30 GMT), the token nosedived again, by -56.46% It’s currently trading at $272.68 on CoinMarketCap. Based on the short-term price surge, it is possible the crypto experienced a pump over the weekend amid a global scare about the effects of the new Covid-19 variant.

Nearly two years into the Covid-19 pandemic, the world raced Friday to contain a new coronavirus variant – B.1.1.529 – potentially more dangerous than the one that has fueled relentless waves of infection on nearly every continent. A World Health Organization panel named the variant “omicron” and classified it as a highly transmissible virus of concern, the same category that includes the predominant delta variant, which is still a scourge driving higher cases of sickness and death in Europe and parts of the United States.

Omicron’s actual risks are not yet understood. But early evidence suggests it carries an increased risk of reinfection compared with other highly transmissible variants, the WHO said. That means people who contracted Covid-19 and recovered could be subject to catching it again. It could take weeks to know if current vaccines are less effective against it.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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