On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) identified and named a new COVID-19 variant – Omicron – that was first detected in South Africa. Over the past 72 hours, additional cases of Omicron infection have been found in Australia, Denmark, Netherlands, and Israel.
Physicians and health experts are not certain if the Omicron variant is more transmissible or causes more severe symptoms than existing strains. What is certain is the discovery and announcement of this new iteration, prompted sell-offs in stocks and cryptocurrencies.
However, the price of one small cryptocurrency – ironically named Omicron (OMIC) – has rocketed more than 500% since the WHO named the COVID-19 strain. As of Friday, Omicron was trading at about $60 per token, but it reached an all-time high of $431.69 as of 9:18am ET Sunday per the chart below from CoinMarketCap.com.
Per that website, Omicron is up more than 82% over the past 24 hours with a fully diluted market cap of $401 million as of this writing. The OMIC token is described on CoinMarketCap as a “…decentralized reserve currency protocol available on the Arbitrum Network…Each OMIC token is backed by a basket of assets (e.g. USDC, OMIC-MIM LP) in the OMIC treasury, giving it an intrinsic value that it cannot fall below. OMIC also introduces unique economic and game-theoretic dynamics into the market through staking and bonding.”
We’re either becoming desensitized to the viral threat of COVID or willing to exploit nearly anything to make money – neither scenario is especially comforting.