90 days ago, 1 ether was the price of an extra large pizza
In the past 90 days, we've seen the price of 1 ether grow from just over $20 to an all time high of $360, an increase of over 1,100%.
This year has been a rollercoaster ride for ether investors. After starting the year slow (around $8) ether (ETH) has grown over 4,000% at the time of writing. This upward trend follows a rise in the total cryptocurrency market which was over 500%.
Much of ether (ETH) rise comes from the influx of new investors, ICO's and corporate backing. Last month, we saw digital currency exchanges like Poloniex and Coinbase temporarily crash due to traffic. These exchanges are receiving new customers at a rate never seen before. Digital exchange Coinbase reported 40,000 new users in a day. Leading foreign Bitcoin exchanges have also added ether trading, bolstering trading volumes globally. This month we actually saw Ether's 24-hour trading volume surpass that of Bitcoin. This unprecedented event that some experts saw years down the road. Now, some believe Ethers total market capitalization will overtake Bitcoin by the end of the year.
Initial coin offering's or ICO's allow users to purchase coins before the program it'll be used on is built. Functioning as a crowdsale, these unregulated free-for-all usually requires users to deposit ETH or BTC in exchange for pre-sale tokens. These tokens are usually cheap and offer trememdous upside. The most memorable ICO is Ethereum in 2014, when it was as low as $0.40 a coin. Earlier this month we saw the ICO from Brave, an internet browser that removes ad for faster proccessing time. Brave pre-sold its' Basic Attention Token (BAT) that will help users cut out middlemen that take most of the advertising revenue. The BAT sold over 35 million in tokens in 30 seconds. This new way of crowdfunding is getting more attention as more programs are being developed.
Corporate interest has also increased, thus taking the price with it. In February we saw the birth of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA). This union is made up of tech giants and financial heavyweights like IBM, Intel, and DTCC are committed to developing systems that will be run on Ethereum. The EEA added 86 members at the end of May.
What to take away?
Ethereum has been on a tear this year and has left some skeptical. The unregulated nature of ICO's and the unnatural growth of the price still has investors on their toes. However, growing convergence of digital currencies is growing. Japan officials have stated they want to have 300,000 stores that accept Bitcoin by the end of the year. This along with the corporate titans legitimizing the technology has some strapped in for the long run. As short-term gains sky-rocket, it's important to remember the potential of this technology. 3 months ago an ether was the price of a large pizza and 3 years ago, not even 50 cents.