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May 13, 2021

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Ether hits record high amid surge

Cryptocurrency ether hit a record high yesterday, taking gains this year to almost 500 percent on the back of a growing interest in decentralized finance applications and increasing institutional interest in cryptocurrencies.

Ether, the second-biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalization after bitcoin, climbed to US$4,372.35, eclipsing its previous record hit on Monday, and was last up 2 percent. Bitcoin was down a touch at US$56,240.

Ether has jumped almost 500 percent against the US dollar this year as the ethereum blockchain becomes more widely used by peer-to-peer — or decentralized — cryptocurrency platforms that enable crypto-denominated lending outside of traditional banking institutions.

The surge has also seen ether — which in the crypto world is also widely referred to as ethereum — outperform bitcoin, which has almost doubled in price this year as larger investors warm to the emerging technology.

United States bank JP Morgan yesterday said that the pace of evolution in the ethereum market has “remained rapid” and that there was still room for growth.

Open interest in CME Ethereum futures had increased to US$540 million in three months, the bank’s analysts said in a note. A similar level of open interest in CME Bitcoin futures took more than two years after listing in 2017, they added.

“Effectively, once Bitcoin futures became more accepted among institutional investors, they became more comfortable with cryptocurrencies paving the way for a more rapid acceptance of ethereum futures,” JP Morgan said.


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