Omicron Crypto Hits All-time High Amid Volatile Markets As COVID Variant Spreads

A cryptocurrency token that shares the same name as the Omicron COVID variant has experienced a surge in trading over the past day.

It comes following several days of headlines surrounding the Omicron variant that was recently classified as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization after first being discovered on November 9.

Before that, a cryptocurrency project also named after the Greek letter Omicron (OMIC) was launched around November 2, according to its tweets.

Cryptocurrency price tracking sites such as CoinMarketCap and CoinGecko display trading data on OMIC as far back as around November 8, when it was worth around $200 and a few tens of thousands of dollars' worth were being traded per day.

However, CoinMarketCap shows that over the past 24 hours, OMIC had increased in price around 90 percent—as of 7 a.m. ET on Monday—to roughly $634.

The price soon plummeted just as fast according to CoinGecko, which shows that the token fell to $357 around an hour later.

Meanwhile its trading volume—the amount being traded in 24 hours—had also increased sharply to over $700,000 by 8 a.m. OMIC reached its all-time-high price of $692.11 on Sunday, CoinMarketCap shows.

According to cryptocurrency analysis Twitter account CryptoWhale, the token was up over 650 percent over the previous three days on Sunday.

It tweeted: "If this isn't a sign we're in a giant bubble, I don't know what is." In the world of cryptocurrency and finance, a "bubble" refers to an asset, or market of assets, being valued higher than their real world value and based on speculation.

Experts have previously told Newsweek about the risks and dangers associated with cryptocurrency trading, including their notoriously volatile prices. Cryptocurrency tokens are known for their tendency to rise and fall in price quickly.

A document by the anonymous OMIC team states that the token is based on the Arbitrum cryptocurrency platform and aims to be a "policy-controlled currency system."

Newsweek has contacted the team for comment.

While OMIC has had a price increase, other tokens have been hit amid the recent concern surrounding the Omicron COVID variant—though Newsweek cannot verify if that was a contributing factor.

Bitcoin plummeted from over $59,000 to less than $54,000 between Thursday and Friday last week, while Dogecoin and Ethereum followed similar patterns, CoinMarketCap shows.

Markets were hit outside of cryptocurrency, too. Japan's Nikkei 225 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index were both down on Monday morning according to CNN, while European markets and the U.S. Dow Jones took a serious hit on Friday.

There is currently much uncertainty around the Omicron variant and the extent to which it may or may not affect the wider COVID-19 pandemic.

Asset price graph
A stock photo shows an asset price graph on a phone or tablet screen. News of the Omicron COVID variant appears to have affected markets. Zapp2Photo/Getty