Why the Ethereum Price Is Rising So Fast

The Ethereum price hit another all-time high today (Tuesday, June 6), reaching $258.49 on the CoinDesk index.

The extraordinary increase in the price of Ethereum put the cryptocurrency up 190% since May 17 and 2,980% since Jan. 1, when it traded for just $8.41.

And that's despite a sudden 47% drop in late May. Within days, the Ethereum price had bounced back to its previous highs.ethereum price

The rapid rise of the price of Ethereum mirrors that of other cryptocurrencies. The price of Bitcoin, the No. 1 cryptocurrency, touched $2,967 today to make an all-time high of its own.

The enthusiasm for digital currencies may be overheated at the moment, but the long-term potential is real.

The Ethereum price is rising like a missile because of these five powerful catalysts...

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Why the Ethereum Price Has Taken Off

  • Business Support: Ethereum has gotten the backing of powerful financial and tech companies via the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance. Members include such global heavyweights as JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), and Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE ADR: TM). The group's goal is to develop "enterprise-grade software capable of handling the most complex, highly demanding applications at the speed of business." The EEA debuted at the end of February and has grown quickly since then. On May 23, the EEA announced it had added 86 new members.
  • Initial Coin Offerings: Ethereum is drawing a lot of demand from the ICO phenomenon. ICOs can raise millions of dollars in mere seconds. Over the past year, dozens of blockchain-based startups have launched new cryptocurrencies through ICOs. The digital tokens are typically integrated into the business but also serve to raise capital. Because Ethereum is a programmable cryptocurrency, many ICOs are based on Ethereum. Many ICOs also require the use of Ethereum (or Bitcoin) to buy the tokens, which has increased demand.
  • China and South Korea: South Korea has shown an unusually strong appetite for Ethereum. Trades in South Korea account for about a quarter of global Ethereum volume, according to CryptoCompare.com. In China, one of the major Bitcoin exchanges, Huobi, launched Ethereum trading at the end of last month. Chinese investors were among the first to embrace Bitcoin back in 2013, and figure to be a strong catalyst for Ethereum as well.

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  • Russia: Until April, the Russian government had opposed all cryptocurrencies. But now Russia is working on regulations to govern their use. Tellingly, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin last week at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum. "The digital economy isn't a separate industry, it's essentially the foundation for creating brand-new business models," Putin said at the event. Putin may now see adoption of cryptocurrencies like Ethereum as a way to boost the struggling Russian economy.
  • FOMO: Finally, the parabolic rise in the price of Ethereum in 2017 is at least partly due to what's known as "fear of missing out," or FOMO. When some investors see the kind of astronomical price gains that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum have enjoyed, they feel like they have to jump in "before it's too late." While a poor investing strategy - such buyers tend to get in at the peaks rather than the valleys - FOMO feeds the kind of sudden, steep gains we've seen in the price of Ethereum this year.

All of this begs the question, where is the Ethereum price headed from here? Let's take a look at this 2017 Ethereum price prediction...

Ethereum Price Predictions for 2017

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Just a few months ago, pundits were predicting that Ethereum could go as high as $100. They drastically underestimated what was about to happen, didn't they?

With much less of a track record, predicting where Ethereum goes next is tricky. As with Bitcoin, Ethereum could fall to zero or continue zooming higher. The one thing we know for sure is that it won't stand still.

Expert Ethereum price predictions are virtually nonexistent, but we do have one metric that can help us get to one: Ethereum's market cap, or the total value of all ether tokens.

We have an estimate on that thanks to Fred Wilson, co-founder and a managing partner at the venture capital firm Union Square Partners.

"The market cap of Ethereum will bypass the market cap of Bitcoin by the end of the year," Wilson told Bloomberg last month.

According to CoinMarketCap.com, the total value of Bitcoin is $46 billion as I write this. The total value of Ethereum is $23.9 billion.

So if Bitcoin stays right where it is (very unlikely), the price of Ethereum will need to nearly double to about $500 to match Bitcoin's market cap.

But if the Bitcoin price (and market cap) continues to rise, as is likely, the Ethereum price will need to end 2017 even higher.

After what's happened so far in 2017, don't be surprised if it happens - or if Ethereum ends the year much higher than that.

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About the Author

David Zeiler, Associate Editor for Money Morning at Money Map Press, has been a journalist for more than 35 years, including 18 spent at The Baltimore Sun. He has worked as a writer, editor, and page designer at different times in his career. He's interviewed a number of well-known personalities - ranging from punk rock icon Joey Ramone to Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak.

Over the course of his journalistic career, Dave has covered many diverse subjects. Since arriving at Money Morning in 2011, he has focused primarily on technology. He's an expert on both Apple and cryptocurrencies. He started writing about Apple for The Sun in the mid-1990s, and had an Apple blog on The Sun's web site from 2007-2009. Dave's been writing about Bitcoin since 2011 - long before most people had even heard of it. He even mined it for a short time.

Dave has a BA in English and Mass Communications from Loyola University Maryland.

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