Despite all the hype surrounding bitcoin, there are virtual currencies that have seen an even more astounding rise in value. Rival cryptocurrency ethereum has just reached an all-time high, and is now up 8,000 percent this year.
The second-most valuable digital currency broke through the $500 and $600 price milestones before setting a new record of $662 at 00:39 GMT on Wednesday. It has been an amazing ride for ethereum, which began the year trading at $8.34.
Launched in 2015 by Canadian computer programmer Vitalik Buterin, ethereum’s market value is currently approaching $62 billion, according to Coinmarketcap.com.
The rise in value was reportedly triggered by the news that Swiss financial giant UBS is going to lead an ethereum-based blockchain platform, along with such companies as Credit Suisse, Barclays, KBC, Swiss stock exchange SIX and Thomson Reuters. The network is aimed to help the firms to comply with the European Union's Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II – an overhaul of EU rules to improve financial-market transparency.
“The news that ethereum is being used as a base identity layer in conjunction with some of the larger banking giants out there is a positive ratification of the technology,” said Charles Hayter, chief and founder of data analysis firm Crypto Compare, as quoted by CNBC.
Last weekend, bitcoin – the world’s number one virtual currency – made its first appearance on one of the major futures exchanges. According to the analyst, the shift of bitcoin to more conventional markets might make investors believe that ethereum could become the next big digital asset to be listed on Wall Street.
“Ethereum as a clear number two in the space is an obvious choice to receive the same treatment and have futures listed. It would be no surprise if these plans were already in the works,” Hayter said.
Litecoin and ripple have been the other record-breaking cryptocurrencies this year. Litecoin has soared 8,000 percent to $310.85, having started the year at just $4 per token; while ripple surged to 44 cents from 0.006 cents in January, representing a 7,000-percent rise.
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