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Bitcoin tanks on coronavirus fears

March 12, 2020, 1:37 PM UTC

It took 19 days for the stock market to move from a record high to a bear market due to COVID-19 coronavirus fears. It took cryptocurrencies less than a day.

Bitcoin and other virtual currencies were in free fall in early trading Thursday, hitting their lowest points since May. As of 9 a.m. ET, Bitcoin was off 23%, according to CoinMarketCap. Other cryptocurrencies mirrored those drops, with Ethereum falling more than 30% and XRP dropping 24%.

The plunge started around 6:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, with Bitcoin prices falling 12% over the course of just 30 minutes. In the past 24 hours, the market cap of Bitcoin has fallen by $33 billion.

The wild fluctuations come as stock tumble globally on fears of the growing coronavirus pandemic. They also run counter to the argument of Bitcoin enthusiasts that the digital currency is a safe haven when traditional markets are in crisis.

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