During the day, bitcoin fell to $ 41,967 (£ 32,000), losing 22% of its value, before rebounding to $ 47,540 (£ 36,000) at 14:30 GMT.
Ether, the second largest cryptocurrency, linked to Ethereum, saw its value drop 13%, hitting a low of nearly $ 3,500 (£ 2,650) on Saturday.
According to Coingecko, a cryptocurrency data platform, the market cap of the 11,392 coins it tracks fell almost 20% to $ 2.2 trillion. Last month, the cryptocurrencies on the platform recorded a market cap of over $ 3 trillion when bitcoin hit a record high of $ 69,000 (£ 52,000).
Bitcoin has since fallen by around 30% but remains up over 60% this year. This is a return that far exceeds other assets.
Data from Coinglass, another data platform, showed more than $ 2.5 billion was liquidated in the past 24 hours, marking the biggest day of cryptocurrency sales since September 7. .
The decline in cryptocurrency market capitalization follows a volatile week for financial markets. Global equities and U.S. benchmark bond yields fell on Friday after data revealed slowing U.S. job growth in November.
Vijay Ayyar, head of Asia-Pacific at Luno crypto exchange, said Bloomberg that markets had been “nervous” over uncertainty over the omicron variant of the coronavirus, which has now been found in 38 countries around the world.
These two factors have led to greater risk aversion.
The drop in market valuation also comes as the executives of eight major cryptocurrency companies are expected to testify before the United States House Financial Services Committee next week, as lawmakers continue to question how to regulate them. cryptocurrencies.