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Bitcoin Prices Plummet Nearly $1,500 in an Hour amid Market Turmoil

March 12, 2020 at 13:39 by Matt Jackson

Bitcoin’s price crashed more than $1,300 in a matter of minutes this morning, following the World Health Organization’s (WHO) categorization of Covid-19 as a pandemic and US President Donald Trump’s suspension of travel from the EU to the US. Prices have recovered a few hundred dollars but remain 20% down over 24 hours. The rest of the cryptocurrency market has followed a similar pattern with Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin SV, and a host of other currencies losing 30%. The best performing non-stable coin in the top 100 is NEM, which has only lost 5% on the day.

The WHO yesterday announced that the Covid-19 virus is now officially considered a pandemic. The group had declared the virus a global public health emergency on January 30 but held off on declaring it a pandemic for fear that it would cause public panic. However, in yesterday’s announcement, they said that “alarming levels of spread and severity” as well as “the alarming levels of inaction” have led them to declare Covid-19 a pandemic.


President Trump has caused more controversy with the shock announcement that he was banning travel from 26 European countries to the US. The EU has hit out at Trump, stating that it does not approve of unilateral decisions. The ban applies to those from countries that are part of the Schengen border-free travel area. Residents of the UK and Republic of Ireland are exempt and still allowed to travel.

As the virus continues to spread, other countries have increased their own restrictions and actions. Italy has now closed nearly all shops, bars, and other venues until at least March 25 and the Republic of Ireland has announced that its schools will be closed from today until March 29. The UK is expected to follow suit with increased preventative measures.

The spread of Covid-19 has caused widespread panic in the markets. The FTSE 100 was down nearly 6% following Trump’s travel ban and despite the Bank of England slashing interest rates and offering deferred mortgage repayments to borrowers. The DOW also plummeted on the back of recent announcements and is now officially in a bear market.

Oil prices have also fallen. Having seen their biggest price decline since the Gulf War on Monday, the threat of the market being flooded with cut-price and low-quality oil from Saudi Arabia has compounded pricing problems. Oil prices have dropped more than 4% on the day and both benchmarks are down 50% on January highs.

Gold, as a safe haven investment, has seen its prices increase. Gold was up 0.2% while other metals including palladium fell amid fears of a lack of demand during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cryptocurrency was the hardest hit of all markets, thanks to its highly volatile nature. In early trading, the digital gold plummeted to a low of $5,678, which is its lowest level since May 2019. Prices have recovered a little in the hours since, but it is still struggling to hold above $6,000, down more than 20% in the past 24 hours. While Bitcoin has clearly been hit by the coronavirus panic, other cryptocurrencies have performed even worse. Of the top 10 largest coins by market capitalization, Bitcoin SV has experienced the worst performance, down 36% on the day. Ripple has come closest to Bitcoin, dropping 23% on the day. Further decline could be in store if governments announce further travel restrictions or business closures, although some of these actions will now be built into Bitcoin price. For now, it looks as though investors are moving their money out of risky investments and into the safe haven of gold and government bonds.

At 13:30, Bitcoin (BTC) is down 22.8% at $6,070.51 while Ethereum (ETH) is now changing hands at $137.72, having fallen 30.4%. Ripple (XRP) has dropped 23.14% to trade at $0.16 while Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin SV (BSV) have shed 32.37% and 36.28% from their prices to trade at $179.48 and $123.72 respectively.

If you have any questions and comments on Bitcoin today, use the form below to reply.

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