Ether, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency has surged to a record high as the digital assets rally continues to widen beyond Bitcoin.
The digital token for the Ethereum network gained 6.2 percent and reached as high as $2,144. From the beginning of this year, the digital coin has nearly tripled its value and first topped $2,000 briefly on an intraday basis in February.
Optimism around bitcoin and the broader crypto sector has been centered on increased institutional adoption of digital assets as alternatives to gold and other commodities. Last week, Visa said that its payments network will use USD Coin to settle transactions over Ethereum, a move that is viewed as bridging the gap between traditional currencies and crypto.
“The latest backing from Visa appears to be giving the bulls a new reason to persist in their stride,” said Konstantin Anissimov, executive director at cryptocurrency exchange CEX.IO. The trend could send Ethereum above the current value in the coming days.
Further, the billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban’s remarks regarding owning the digital asset and that it’s closest to a true currency have helped to boost the interest, according to Greg Waisman, co-founder and COO of the global payment network Mercuryo.
The token has followed the gains in Bitcoin over the past year amid a flood of stimulus aimed at boosting the global economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Critics warn that crypto is like a speculative bubble that would burst anytime.
According to data from CoinMarketCap.com, currently Ether has a market value of about $230 billion, compared with about $1.1 trillion for Bitcoin.
“We’re now really breaking higher and that will very likely attract buying activity. Ether is gaining in relative strength versus Bitcoin,” said Julius de Kempenaer, senior analyst at StockCharts.com.