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Ether hit a milestone yesterday after a single coin was valued at over $3,000. Its record value inevitably brought Bitcoin into the spotlight along with it. Ether is up 325% so far this year, which overshadows Bitcoin’s 95% increase. While Bitcoin dominates the crypto sector, Ether’s rise highlights that there is room for more than one winning digital token as investor interest steadily grows.
Ethereum is an open-source, blockchain-based, decentralised software platform. It was created in 2015 to host its cryptocurrency, Ether. Ether saw minimal gains from 2015 to 2017. Its first big spike occurred in mid-2017, after which it continued to gain traction and peaked in January of 2018. Back then, its worth was just over $1,400. Shortly after, its value dropped, and by the end of 2018, it was down to just $83.37. Its next major ascent began at the end of 2020. Its steady growth since then is what got it to its current market value of over $3,000.
There are many factors considered to have contributed to Ether’s rally. The Ethereum blockchain upgrade goes hand-in-hand with a growing shift towards decentralised finance (DeFi). DeFi refers to transactions that occur outside of traditional banking, and the Ethereum blockchain is a vital platform for this.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are also responsible. Ether tokens are the crypto payment of choice for NFT sales, and popularity is booming. In 2017, CryptoKitties were created using the blockchain and were essentially the first NFTs made. CoinShares’ Chief Executive Officer, Jean-Marie Mognetti, described the growth of NFTs as “mind-boggling”. “Ethereum as a network is what makes this all possible,” he said.
Ether is the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, occupying 15% within the crypto space, according to CoinGecko. Bitcoin takes the lead – it now accounts for 46% of total crypto market value, dropping from approximately 70% at the start of 2021. At the time of writing, Ether has a market cap of almost $400 billion, while Bitcoin’s market cap currently exceeds $1 trillion.
Cryptocurrencies were trading higher across the board yesterday. Bitcoin’s value rose above $58,000, while Ether hit $3,151 in New York. These weren’t the only two coins experiencing increased attention. Smaller tokens are also gaining fresh interest. According to CoinGecko, the price of Binance Coin has grown by 3,460% in the past 12 months. Even Dogecoin, which launched in 2013 as a joke and shares its name with a meme, surged 15,000% and hit a market cap of around $50 billion.
There is much speculation around whether the Ether rally and that of cryptocurrencies, in general, will continue. Those who support cryptos believe that investors are becoming more comfortable with the variety of coins out there. America’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global Inc.’s recent listing on the Nasdaq, is an additional sign that investors are beginning to embrace the sector.
Yet, critics argue that the digital currency sector might just be caught up in a stimulus-fuelled mania. The opposing team compares the current success of cryptos to the ’90s dot-com bubble and therefore anticipates a crash.
It remains to be seen which way the crypto sector will go. However, as more companies and countries look at incorporating digital currencies into their financial models, it is hard to imagine that this is a bubble waiting to burst.
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