Ethereum has skyrocketed in less than two years from zero to a market cap of $6.3 billion, twice as much as bitcoin’s market cap during July 2015 and at around the same level as bitcoin’s market cap during spring 2016.
The currency has surpassed $70 today, increasing from $50 in just two days on the back of numerous positive news that indicate an increased usage of ethereum’s public blockchain and, thus, it’s utility.
Just today RWE’s subsidiary, Germany’s energy giant, announced that hundreds of charging stations for electronic cars will be using ethereum’s public blockchain in a project that has been in development for more than a year and now has gone live.
This is after a number of eth based projects were showcased by Microsoft, Spotify bought an eth based start-up, an eth conference was held in China where Vitalik Buterin, eth’s inventor, was to speak and Gnosis raised $12.5 million in minutes at an incredible valuation of $300 million.
Ethereum’s ecosystem is experiencing an ICO bonanza with the latest research showing ICO projects raised 2.4 times more funding than VC funded projects, potentially further increasing the appeal of token sales in what some are calling a gold-rush while others call for caution.
To top it all, ethereum’s subreddit surpassed bitcoin’s in online users for the first time ever suggesting a potential shift in focus and attention as investors seemingly begin to think it is ethereum, not bitcoin, that is the future.
One reason may be because bitcoin has failed to reach a critical decision on how to accommodate more users with the debate descending into vitriol, in part because it has been going on for so long with no resolution in sight.
That has led to many bitcoin businesses leaving or hedging. Most notably, Coinbase, a Silicon Valley start-up created through the YCombinator incubator. They have launched some three eth projects recently: an ethereum search engine, an eth data company and Token, a WeChat like payment app that uses ethereum’s public blockchain.
The company is building considerable eth infrastructure, allowing the ecosystem to mature while creating its own path and seemingly detaching from bitcoin. In a similar approach they are joined by ConsenSys, an eth incubator and tech powerhouse which recently signed an agreement with Dubai to help them in smartifying and blockchenizing their city.
In combination, all of this may mean eth is heading for mainstream awareness, but is it ready? Bitcoin wasn’t. Eth is planning to upgrade their algorithm for proof of stake, then sharding. Until then, the technology remains somewhat immature, but it can probably handle the first paint like apps to make the way for photoshops down the line.