Following a near two-week battle, ether has pushed Ripple’s XRP aside to once again stand as the world’s number two cryptocurrency by total market cap. Bitcoin still ranks as number one, but at press time, one ether coin is trading for over $1,200 USD, leading many to wonder if 2018 could be the year BTC faces a serious challenger.
2017 closed out with Ripple garnering the number two spot after a near-70 percent surge in value, and a market cap surpassing that of Ethereum by nearly $3 billion. XRP was enjoying newfound support from banks, and Ripple seemed to be in a secure place…
But Monday afternoon saw Ripple’s price fall by nearly 25 percent, dropping to $2.50 following a near week-long high of over $3. Popularity for XRP fell somewhat following Coinbase’s announcement that it had no current plans to bring Ripple trading to form, and that any source claiming otherwise was misinformed.
Ripple’s market cap has since fallen to about $87.3 billion. Ethereum’s stands at $117.5 billion, making it the most valuable blockchain after bitcoin.
In a recent statement, managing director at cryptocurrency brokerage eToro Iqbal Gandham attributed ether’s rise to fame to two major factors:
“First, it was due to capital flows with investors realizing their profits from cryptocurrencies. Secondly, a data adjustment by CoinMarketCap.com, the most popular site for cryptocurrency pricing data, removed South Korean exchanges from its site, which have been known to trade much higher than the rest of the world.”
The sudden move against South Korea caused a brief, yet nerve-racking drop in most cryptocurrencies, with tokens like bitcoin falling by nearly eight percent. Ether, however, held its ground amidst the turmoil, and has experienced a jump in value of over 30 percent since last week.
Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin said he feels there are major advantages to using ether over bitcoin and other currencies. Several banks, including UBS, Credit Suisse and Barclays have begun testing Ethereum’s technology, believing it could one day simplify E.U. financial reporting standards.
Additionally, Ethereum allows developers to build directly on the blockchain platform, paving the way for initial coin offerings and other smart contract functions.
“Bitcoin is the first application built on the blockchain technology,” he stated. “But ether can be a more programmable money. We conceive it as a crypto fuel because it powers these programs on the world computer.”
Interestingly, Ethereum’s other creative half Steven Nerayoff feels that 2018 could potentially see ether tripling in value. He said cryptocurrency users are becoming more aware of Ethereum’s ability to cheaply and quickly process transactions in comparison to other competing currencies.
Nerayoff predicted 2018 would be a time when ether overtakes bitcoin to become the biggest and most popular cryptocurrency on the market.
“What you’re seeing with Ethereum is exponential increase in the number of projects,” he explained.
“There are billions of dollars being poured into the ecosystem right now – maybe 10 times more projects this year than last year, which could easily lead to a doubling, probably a tripling in price by the end of the year.”
Could ether eventually become more powerful than bitcoin? Post your comments below.
Images via Ethereum, Blockchain.com, Pixabay