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Cryptocurrency Omicron surges 900% with the rise of new Covid variant


The Omicron token hit an all-time high of $689 during the Monday morning Asian trading session. (Credit: Pixabay)

Seems like crypto speculators have gotten ahead of the virus with an obscure cryptocurrency called Omicron (OMIC) now surging to an all-time high.

The price of the 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 told Reuters.

The token shares its name with the new COVID-19 variant, first discovered in South Africa on Tuesday. 

The World Health Organization has a policy of naming the variants after Greek alphabets. The fast-spreading B.1.1.529 strain is named after the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet, Omicron.

The Omicron token hit an all-time high of $689 during the Monday morning Asian trading session. The move has added another 200% gains on the day for the token and a whopping 945% since Saturday when it was trading around $65. 

The token came into existence earlier in November and seems to have risen with the spread of the newly-named coronavirus strain. OMIC appears to have outperformed Bitcoin and Ethereum over the weekend.

The token shares its name with the new COVID-19 variant, first discovered in South Africa on Tuesday. (Credits: Coin Gecko)

The total supply of this crypto token is capped at 1,000,000, meaning that the majority of its tokens are still to be mined and traded.

Omicron runs on the Ethereum layer-two network Arbitrum. Its native OMIC token is backed by several other crypto assets including the USD Coin (USDC) stablecoin and liquidity provider tokens. 

It can only be traded on the SushiSwap decentralized exchange, which has seen $454,000 in volume for the OMIC/USDC pair over the past 24 hours according to CoinGecko. The token analytics website has no further details on OMIC supply or market capitalization. 

This week began with crypto markets back in the green after falling to their lowest levels since mid-October on Saturday. Total market capitalization is reportedly up 5.6% over the past 24 hours and is currently at $2.71 trillion, according to CoinGecko.

The Omicron token, which its website describes as ‘a decentralized treasury-backed currency protocol,’ was trading at about $371 at 1435 GMT. On Thursday it was worth about $65.

The World Health Organization named the new Covid-19 variant Omicron on Friday as more countries reported cases and described it as being ‘very high risk’. Countries are issuing travel bans over fears of a global surge and scientists have said it could take weeks to understand its severity.

On Friday, Bitcoin suffered its worst day in two months, dropping by more than 8% as investors dumped stocks and other riskier assets in favour of perceived safe havens like the dollar. It has since recovered nearly all of its losses, as global markets calmed down on Monday.

It’s unknown whether the token could be part of a ‘rug pull’ scam such as the Squid Game cryptocurrency scam where millions of dollars vanished in a matter of minutes after investors piled into a new cryptocurrency inspired by Netflix’s ‘Squid Game’. The apparent ‘rug pull’ saw its value plunge to nearly zero in a few short hours. 

A ‘rug pull’ is where crypto developers abandon a project and walk away with investors’ funds. In the case of Squid crypto, it is estimated that the creators vanished with £2.4 million.

Crypto enthusiasts seem to be betting on new variants of the coronavirus as a way to capitalise on their popularity. If so, the next on the list will be Pi and there’s already a cryptocurrency with that name.


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