PARIS (AFP) – Trading in the cryptocurrency Omicron exploded on Monday (Nov 29) and its value gyrated after the World Health Organization decided to use that name for the latest variant of Covid-19.
Obscure and relatively stable in recent weeks, the virtual coin jumped to nearly US$700 early Monday, about 10 times its previous value, according to the crypto news website CoinMarketCap.
It later fell to US$152 before rebounding and stabilising at around US$350.
The WHO on Friday gave the name Omicron to the latest variant of the coronavirus to worry officials, following its policy to name them after letters in the Greek alphabet.
The cryptocurrency Omicron was created in early November, with its founders making no reference to Covid-19 at the launch.
Instead, they expressed hope that it could conserve purchasing power independently of the market’s volatility.
Omicron isn’t the only digital coin to benefit from notoriety from the real world, only to see the gains collapse.
The Squid coin, created by fans of the TV series, rose from US$0.70 at its launch on Oct 21 to a peak of US$2.86 on November 1.
It fell to US$0.003 the following day. Traders discovered they couldn’t cash out their profits and the creators disappeared from social media.