Bitcoin enters bear market territory when risky assets fall on a new version of Covid

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Bitcoin prices have fallen sharply due to global stock sales.

Luke MacGregor Bloomberg | Getty Images

Bitcoin fell sharply along with other assets on Friday, reaching a six-week low and officially entering bear market territory.

Bitcoin has fallen 7% to $ 54,561 in the last 24 hours, according to Coin Metrics, the lowest level since Oct. 8. The cryptocurrency fell 20% from a high of nearly $ 69,000 it reached earlier this month.

Bear markets are typically defined by a 20 percent decline or more from recent highs.

Other cryptocurrencies also fell on Friday. ether, the second largest cryptocurrency, fell more than 10% to $ 4,007, while XRP fell 10% to about 95 cents.

Digital currencies are falling in tandem with other risky assets due to panic over a new, heavily mutated version of the coronavirus first discovered in South Africa.

The World Health Organization on Thursday gave a briefing on a new version known as B.1.1.529 that is expected to contain more than 30 mutations. The UK and other countries have suspended flights from six African countries in response.

Proponents of Bitcoin often describe it as “digital gold,” meaning a reference to the status of the yellow metal as a so-called safe haven asset.

Crypto investors say the virtual currency offers value preservation and protection against inflation.

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