Bitcoin’s little brother, Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalisation and volume, hit a record high on Thursday, with analysts predicting further rises for the undervalued crypto asset.
The virtual currency reached an all-time peak of $1,938 and was last up 4.6% at $1,936.94. It is now up more than 126% on a its price a year ago.
The price rise comes more than a week after its futures were launched on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and it has also been boosted by growing institutional interest.
"Ethereum is really undervalued, and I believe it has been ... due to its more complex narrative," said Luis Cuende, co-founder of Aragon, a decentralised application on the ethereum blockchain. “I would say over the next three months, we could see ethereum hit $2,500.”
Increasing institutional participation in cryptocurrencies also pushed bitcoin, the largest and most popular crypto asset, to an all-time peak of $52,640 on Wednesday.
But Bitcoin was in consolidation mode after hitting a record high this week when mainstream investors and companies, like Tesla, Mastercard and BNY Mellon, waded in. It was last down 0.3% at $52,000.
Another beneficiary of bitcoin's climb as a mainstream asset was the surge in trading volume for Purpose Bitcoin ETF, the world's first bitcoin exchange traded fund, which was approved by Canadian regulators. Purpose started trading on Thursday.
More than C$80 million of Purpose were traded in the first few hours after its launch. By comparison, the volume for the Bitcoin Fund, a closed-end investment fund, was about C$30 million.
CME data, meanwhile, showed nearly 1,900 ETH futures contracts were traded for the first five days after last week's launch or about 92,800 ether, equivalent to roughly $160 million.
Around 27% of volume came from outside the United States and more than 33% traded during non-U.S. trading hours.
- Reporting by Reuters