Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap (behind Bitcoin), is currently trading at $707, a 20% increase in the last 24 hours.
This is a new record for Ethereum, which has kept pace with Bitcoin for the better part of the year but started falling behind sometime in the summer. Bitcoin’s price grew tremendously in the second part of the year. One bitcoin is currently worth $17,176.
Ethereum’s market capitalization, according to CoinMarketCap, is currently $66.5 billion.
Besides being a blockchain-based cryptocurrency, Ethereum has fairly little to do with Bitcoin. While Bitcoin is primarily a payment system, Ethereum is a platform for decentralized apps running on its blockchain.
Ethereum’s platform ushered in a completely new breed of startups that raised funds via initial coin offering or ICO events. Participants exchange Ethereum for new digital tokens created on the Ethereum blockchain. ICOs raised more than $1.24 billion in the third quarter of 2017, according to CoinDesk.
Most recently, Ethereum has been in the news due to a popular game called CryptoKitties, which lets users collect and trade digital kittens stored on Ethereum’s blockchain.
Looking at price alone, Ethereum’s growth has been even more impressive than Bitcoin’s this year. The cryptocurrency was trading for about $8.3 in January; its current price represents a 8,500% increase.
Ethereum might be rising due to recent comments by SEC chairman Jay Clayton, who published a statement on Monday warning about the dangers of ICOs, which are largely unregulated. He also said that some digital tokens traded in ICOs aren’t securities and do not fall under SEC’s jurisdiction.
Numerous other cryptocurrencies continue yesterday’s rally, most notably, the banking-oriented Ripple, which grew by 73% in the last 24 hours and now has a market cap of $18 billion.
Disclosure: The author of this text owns, or has recently owned, a number of cryptocurrencies, including BTC and ETH, as well as a swiftly rising number of digital kittens.