Ether, the cryptocurrency native to the Ethereum network, could triple in value in 2018 as businesses in various industries are beginning to recognize the potential of Ethereum. The surge in the number of projects being built on the platform, coupled with increasing public interest in the cryptocurrency market, could push the price of ether to new highs, eventually overtaking Bitcoin, according to Steven Nerayoff, an early contributor and advisor to the Ethereum project.
“What you’re seeing with Ethereum is exponential increase in the number of projects. 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,” Nerayoff told CNBC’s Fast Money on Monday.
“You’re seeing a tremendous amount of growth across a wide variety of industries. Fintech is actually the natural area, but now you’re seeing it becoming increasingly more creative. You find projects in the oil and gas industry, you’re finding government using it in their applications, you’re seeing it in gaming, all kinds of different areas.”
While Bitcoin was designed to function as a decentralized, peer-to-peer electronic payment system, counterpart Ethereum, in contrast, was designed to be much more than just a cryptocurrency.
Launched in 2015, Ethereum is an open source, public, blockchain-based distributed computing platform that enables smart contracts and distributed applications to be built and run without downtime, fraud, control or interference from a third party.
Cryptocurrency ether is used to compensate participant nodes for computations performed. It is sought by developers looking to build and run applications on the Ethereum platform. Like other cryptocurrencies, ether are held in digital wallets and are traded on exchanges.
“People are actually using it for currency as well,” Nerayoff said. “Lower transactional costs are increasing usage of the entire network and that’s increasing usage of the entire network, and that’s increasing the network effects of it. There are more users, more projects built on there and more programmers.”
Ethereum is up 13% today and nearing its all-time high price of US$1,230.
Bitcoin dropped below US$14,500 yesterday following news that regulators in China are planning a crackdown on Bitcoin mining.
A leaked January 02 document from the Leading Group of Internet Financial Risks Remediation, the country’s Internet finance regulator which initiated the crackdown cryptocurrencies, said that Bitcoin miners are to make an “orderly exit” from China.
“Currently, there are some so-called ‘mining’ enterprises that produce ‘virtual currencies.’ They have consumed huge amounts of resources and stoked speculation of ‘virtual currencies,'” the document reads
In the document, local authorities are instructed to force mining operations out of business using measures linked to tax, environmental protection, electricity pricing and land use. According to Quatz, local representatives are required to report back on the progress of removing miners in their regions on a monthly basis.