Bitcoin prices have fallen sharply amid the global sell-off in stocks.
Luke MacGregor | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Bitcoin fell sharply along with other assets on Friday, hitting a six-week low and officially entering bear market territory.
Bitcoin fell 7% to $ 54,561 in the past 24 hours, its lowest level since October 8, according to Coin Metrics data. The cryptocurrency is down 20 percent from an all-time high of nearly $ 69,000 that it hit earlier this month.
Bear markets are typically defined by a decline of 20% or more from recent highs.
Other cryptocurrencies also crashed on Friday. Ether, the second largest cryptocurrency, fell more than 10% to $ 4,007, while XRP slumped 10% to around 95 cents.
Digital currencies, along with other risk assets, are falling amid panic over a new, heavily mutated variant of the coronavirus first discovered in South Africa.
The World Health Organization briefed on Thursday about the new variant, known as B.1.1.529, which is believed to contain more than 30 mutations. As a result, the UK and other nations temporarily suspended flights from six African countries.
Bitcoin has often been described by its proponents as “digital gold”, an indication of the yellow metal’s status as a so-called safe haven.
Crypto investors say the virtual currency offers both a store of value and a hedge against inflation.