Reports of a new COVID variant dubbed Omicron took a toll on stock and crypto this week, briefly pulling the price of Bitcoin down to $53,500 yesterday, and the price of Ethereum to $3,933.
Within a few hours, Bitcoin sank almost 9%. The last time the world’s largest cryptocurrency fell to such lows was on October 7.
Ethereum also started yesterday at $4,400, meaning its brief losses amounted to around 10% of its market value. The coin has since recouped almost half of its losses and trades at $4,123 at the time of writing.
On Monday, Bitcoin was 12.4% down from the previous week as concerns over the United States’ $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill mounted.
The bill introduces new tax reporting requirements for a variety of different custodial crypto services, including exchanges like Coinbase and Binance US, who are now considered “brokers”.
They’ll now have to regularly provide the government with 1099 forms disclosing the names and addresses of their users making transactions. Non-custodial wallets, too, could be considered brokers under the new regulation, posing difficult questions about the types of data they collect from customers.
However, Bitcoin and the wider crypto market may have caught a break in DC earlier this week. Yesterday, five Democratic senators said they will not vote for the White House’s preferred nominee of crypto critic Saule Omarova to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), a role which would make her the chief bank regulator in the country.
The opposition to Omarova’s candidacy has little to do with her stance on crypto, though. While the five senators’ offices declined to comment further on their rejection, Omarova’s academic history of publishing hard leftist ideas about tougher bank regulations was brought up in a defamatory hearing in which Senator John Kennedy questioned whether to call the Kazakh-American economist a “professor” or a “comrade”.
The altcoin digest
Few altcoins could escape the downturn this weekend. Global crypto markets turned bearish as the market leaders fell. However, some cryptocurrencies managed to stay afloat and even thrive.
ConstitutionDAO was a hot topic earlier this month. The DAO was formed on Zoom after a group of crypto enthusiasts banded together to raise funds to buy a first-edition copy of the US constitution that was being auctioned through Sotheby’s. They raised around $45 million before losing the auction to anti-crypto Citadel CEO Ken Griffin.
On Tuesday, the DAO announced that it was closing operations. By Thursday, the price of PEOPLE tokens had rallied over 200% in 24 hours as people began to return them to get refunded in Ethereum. The returned PEOPLE tokens were burned, thus contracting the supply and driving the price upwards.
On Wednesday, Cardano sank to its lowest price since August after trading platform eToro announced it will no longer enable purchases of ADA after Christmas day due to "business-related considerations in the evolving regulatory environment." On the same day, Ethereum-based metaverse tokens MANA and SAND set new all-time highs.
Yesterday, Basic Attention Token (BAT) defied the market slump and grew 10% overnight to set a new all-time high of $1.85. BAT is the native token of the Brave privacy browser, which is a unique blockchain-based way of monetizing users’ attention to online advertising in a system that rewards users, advertisers and content creators for engaging readers.
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