Cryptocurrency ether broke past $3,000 on Monday to set a new record high in a dazzling rally that has outshone the bigger bitcoin, with investors betting that ether will be of ever greater use in a decentralised future financial system.
Ether , the token transacted on the ethereum blockchain, rose 3% on the Bitstamp exchange to $3,144.81 in morning deals in London. It is up 325% for the year so far, easily outpacing a 95% rise in the more popular bitcoin.
In part, the big rally is a catch-up to late 2020 gains in bitcoin, said James Quinn, managing director at Q9 Capital, a Hong Kong cryptocurrency private wealth manager.
It also reflects improvements to the ethereum blockchain, he said, and a growing shift towards “DeFi”, or decentralised finance, which refers to transactions outside traditional banking for which the ethereum blockchain is a crucial platform.
“At first, the rally was really led by bitcoin because as a lot of the institutional investors came into the space, that would be their natural first port of call,” Quinn said.
“But as the rally has matured over the last six months, you have DeFi and a lot of DeFi is built on ethereum.”
The launch of ether exchange-traded funds in Canada and surging demand for ether wallets to transact non-fungible tokens such as digital art have also pushed up the price.
The ether/bitcoin cross rate has soared more than…
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