Bitcoin has captured the hearts and minds in the financial markets, forcing Wall Street to adapt to the decade-old technological innovation. Dogecoin, a digital currency that started as a joke, has made it into Saturday Night Live skits. But while all the love and praise are being given to bitcoin and dogecoin, what about another cryptocurrency that recently hit record highs? Ether has become the second most valuable crypto in the world after topping $4,000 – and for a good reason. One could argue that ether is perhaps the most important and fascinating cryptocurrency right now.
Everything You Wanted to Know About Ether
In 2013, Russian-Canadian programmer Vitalik Buterin founded Ethereum, an open-source blockchain platform. Ether is the cryptocurrency that runs on the Ethereum blockchain, prompting many experts to declare that it is superior to bitcoin for its functionality and capabilities. What does this even mean?
The Ethereum blockchain processes more transactions per second than bitcoin’s blockchain, making it more of an intriguing ecosystem for the financial sector. This has allowed payments to be executed a lot faster and become more productive. Moreover, the Ethereum ecosystem supports the creation of applications and enables smart contracts, powering things like decentralized finance apps and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
The most important factor in the rise of Ethereum is that the team is working on updating the system, a move that would challenge newcomers attempting to disrupt the system. This also produces a “proof-of-stake” circumstance that requires users to hold some ether to move ahead with transactions.
Although he believes that bitcoin is likely a permanent store of value because of its mainstream acceptance, billionaire Mark Cuban is so excited about Ethereum’s prospects that he believes it will eventually “dwarf bitcoin.” He told CNBC:
“The number of transactions and the diversity of transaction types along with the development efforts in Ethereum dwarf bitcoin. The utilization of Ethereum is much higher.
“Right now, bitcoin is a more established store of value and there is no reason to think it won’t continue to be for a long time. Ethereum, on the other hand, is booming with development that I think will create so many new applications.”
Suffice it to say, Ethereum could one day function as the infrastructure for a decentralized internet absent of busybodies among centralized entities.
Is Crypto a Fad?
Bitcoin is flirting with $60,000. Dogecoin soared 12,000% in a few months. Ethereum surpassed the $4,000 mark. Across the board, thousands of digital currencies are gaining ground as an alliance of armchair investors and crypto enthusiasts rebel against the Wall Street titans.
However, the crypto craze has skeptics on The Street ringing the bubble alarm. Michael Hartnett, the chief investment strategist at Bank of America Securities, said bitcoin’s rally looks like the “mother of all bubbles.” Alvine Capital’s Stephen Isaacs stated there are “no fundamentals with this product, period.” Seventy-four percent of Bank of America’s professional investors see bitcoin as a bubble.
Bank of England (BoE) governor Andrew Bailey perhaps released one of the bluntest anti-crypto statements in recent memory:
“They have no intrinsic value. That doesn’t mean to say people don’t put value on them, because they can have extrinsic value. But they have no intrinsic value.
“I’m going to say this very bluntly again. Buy them only if you’re prepared to lose all your money.”
Is the crypto market in a bubble? Well, the current mania does meet the definition of a bubble: the intense escalation of market value in a short period. Be it speculative excess or inflation concerns, the crypto bubble is likely real, but this does not mean crypto is being dumped in the trash receptacle anytime soon. This would be a foolish prognostication, much like Paul Krugman’s forecast that the internet would have as much impact on the economy as the fax machine.
Cryptocurrency Is Here to Stay
Crypto is more than a bunch of crazy Reddit kids, terrorists, and drug dealers trying to evade the authorities. Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are valuable tools for a 21st century global and digital economy. The crypto market will inevitably crash, but the question becomes: Who will stand tall when all the digital smoke has cleared and online dust has settled? It depends on what virtual currency and platform can withstand a 2001 dot-com type of situation where the market imploded, and only a few survived. Bitcoin may enjoy all the glitz and glamour, and dogecoin might be a flash in the pan. But it is ether that has the goods to be something that offers authentic and actionable value for the future.
Read more from Andrew Moran.