Earlier today, on January 2, Ethereum briefly overtook Ripple and retained its title as the second most valuable cryptocurrency in the market.
Ethereum Hits $88 Billion
The price of Ether, the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum blockchain network, achieved a new all-time high at $914, briefly obtaining a market valuation of $88 billion and surpassing that of Ripple.
After its initial surge in value, it has declined slightly to $878, as its market valuation fell by nearly $3 billion. Shortly thereafter, Ripple became the second largest cryptocurrency market again, as its market cap increased to $89 billion.
Never enough popcorn in the cryptocurrency market. pic.twitter.com/PL3N8fP2Gz
— Joseph Young (@iamjosephyoung) January 2, 2018
The sudden increase in the price of Ether led to the decline of the dominance index of bitcoin, which measures the dominance of bitcoin over the global cryptocurrency market. The dominance index of bitcoin declined to an all-time low to 36 percent.
In terms of developer and overall network activity, the Ethereum blockchain network has been performing at its highest level as of late. Significant progress has been made with its proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus protocol development through the testing of Casper on the Ethereum testnet.
Decentralized applications such as CryptoKitties have begun to demonstrate the potential of the Ethereum network in processing peer-to-peer digital asset trading, which can be utilized in the traditional finance sector to seamlessly exchange assets, commodities, and currencies in a decentralized manner.
Optimism surrounding the strong performance of decentralized applications and the increase in support by major blockchain startups like the $1.6 billion cryptocurrency brokerage Coinbase have led the market to build confidence around the short and mid-term performance of Ether.
This week, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong stated that the company will focus on the development of Toshi, an Ethereum decentralized application browser, to improve the accessibility to decentralized applications for casual users. He wrote:
“Our theory is that the smartphone + ethereum + dapps offer an unprecedented opportunity to bring this to people all over the world. We’re attempting to increase the economic freedom of the world, and clean up some bad behavior in the lowest scoring countries.
It can be easy to take the above tools for granted if you’ve only ever lived in developed countries. But for the majority of people living in the world today, those tools are inaccessible.”
Currently, without a massive influx of mainstream media coverage and virality, it is extremely difficult for decentralized applications to appeal to the general public. But, improved infrastructure and introduction of a marketplace for decentralized applications would further increase the usability and accessibility of the Ethereum network.
Strong Demand From South Korea
In the South Korean market, Ether is being traded at above $1,100. On Bithumb, South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Ethereum is being traded at $1,116, with a $300 million daily trading volume.
Considering that other cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and Litecoin are not being traded with significant premiums, the demand for Ether in the South Korean market is evidently strong.
In the short-term, Ethereum is in an optimal position to surpass Ripple in value, given its recent price trend. If the demand for Ether in the global cryptocurrency market can match that of the South Korean market, Ether’s price would be able to surpass $1,000 relatively quickly.
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