The Ether Prize, which was already staggering five times this year, extended its rise early Monday, pushing past the $ 4,000 psychological milestone for the first time.
Ether, the original cryptocurrency in the Ethereum blockchain and the second largest total, went as high as $ 4,070 shortly after noon. 3:00 coordinated universal time (11pm Sunday ET) according to CoinDesk 20 data.
The annual return is now around 435% against bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, around 104%.
This year’s gains are driven by speculation from new entrants focusing on so-called decentralized financing or DeFi, which consists of blockchain-based trading and lending platforms aimed at automating many functions in banks and other traditional financial companies. Ethereum blockchain serves as the basis for much of DeFi, and it is also the basis for many non-fungible tokens or NFTs, another hot trend in cryptocurrency markets.
Some investors are apparently paying for ether to the extent that a premium has emerged on the US-based Coinbase exchange over prices listed on other major exchanges, according to Ki Young Ju, CEO of cryptocurrency firm CryptoQuant.
Ju told CoinDesk via Telegram that the premium was “significant” as ether climbed a staggering 72% over a two-week period from 26 April.
The ether market has become so ebullient that cryptocurrency derivative Deribit has just entered into an option contract expiring in March 2022 with an exchange rate of $ 50,000. The level is so far above the current price that the stock market later tweeted that there was “nothing frothy about us listing this strike” and that the decision fell within its “strict listing policy.”
Further tension has come from Ethereum blockchain’s plan to move towards a “proof-of-stake” consensus mechanism – how transactions across the network are confirmed – which will theoretically be less energy hungry and more scalable than the current “proof-of-work” system similar to that used by the Bitcoin chain.