Picture used for illustrative purpose.
Inayat-ur-Rahman, Gulf Today
Cryptocurrency ether broke past $3,000 on Monday to set a new record high in a dazzling rally that has outshone the bigger bitcoin, with investors betting that ether will be of ever greater use in a decentralised future financial system.
Ether, the token transacted on the ethereum blockchain, rose 3% on the Bitstamp exchange to $3,144.81 in morning deals in London. It is up 325% for the year so far, easily outpacing a 95% rise in the more popular bitcoin.
In part, the big rally is a catch-up to late 2020 gains in bitcoin, said James Quinn, managing director at Q9 Capital, a Hong Kong cryptocurrency private wealth manager.
It also reflects improvements to the ethereum blockchain, he said, and a growing shift towards “DeFi”, or decentralised finance, which refers to transactions outside traditional banking for which the ethereum blockchain is a crucial platform.
“At first, the rally was really led by bitcoin because as a lot of the institutional investors came into the space, that would be their natural first port of call,” Quinn said.
“But as the rally has matured over the last six months, you have DeFi and a lot of DeFi is built on ethereum.”
The launch of ether exchange-traded funds in Canada and surging demand for ether wallets to transact non-fungible tokens such as digital art have also pushed up the price.
The ether/bitcoin cross rate has soared more than 100% this year and hit a 2.5-year high on Sunday, pointing to a degree of rotation into the second-biggest cryptocurrency as investors diversify their exposure.
“Surging DeFi volumes continue to push ethereum prices higher as investors gain confidence in crypto and see ethereum as a safe second-place asset,” said Jehan Chu, managing partner at Hong Kong blockchain venture capital firm Kenetic Capital.
Illustrating the momentum for such new transactions, Bloomberg reported last week that the European Investment Bank plans on issuing a digital bond over the Ethereum blockchain, while JP Morgan plans a managed bitcoin fund.
Venture capital giant Andreessen Horowitz is looking to raise a new fund of as much as $1 billion to invest in cryptocurrencies and crypto start-ups, the Financial Times reported on Friday, underlining interest in the sector.
Bitcoin, the world’s biggest crypto asset with more than $1 trillion in market capitalisation, regained the $50,000 mark last week and hovered around $58,700 on Monday, up about 4% but well below its record high at $64,895.22.
The US dollar was broadly steady.
Meanwhile, Khurram Shroff, one of the region’s largest crypto “HODLers” and a leading Blockchain proponent, will assume the role of the Chairman of the Board of Directors at iMining Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Inc. effective May 4th, 2021. Shroff brings with him a wealth of experience, across industries and continents, and commands respect in crypto circles for his unwavering support of the technology.
Khurram Shroff boasts over ten years of experience in the Blockchain industry, having held key positions in several organizations across the Middle East and Canada. An entrepreneur with business interests across several industries, Shroff is best known in the Middle East as the Chairman of the IBC Group, which recently shifted its headquarters from Dubai, UAE to Toronto, Canada.
Shroff is also the Co-Founder of Ethereum GeneSys, which is on a mission to ensure the continuation of the Ethereum Proof-of-Work Blockchain. He was recently in the news, after he launched the first-ever Arabic calligraphy collection monetized in the form of NFTs, which he intends to donate to mosques across North America, during the holy month of Ramadan.
Commenting on Shroff’s appointment as the Chair of the Board at iMining, CEO Robert Eadie said: “We’re excited to welcome an experienced and respected leader of Khurram’s calibre, to the firm. Khurram’s proven leadership, in various Blockchain businesses, through several cycles of growth, innovation, and transformation, will be invaluable to iMining, as we facilitate the institutional and mainstream acceptance of cryptocurrencies, as an asset class.”
Eadie’s enthusiasm is shared by Gary Arca, Board Member and CFO at iMining, who said: “ Khurram Shroff will bring an invaluable global perspective to iMining, and we’re confident that our rapidly evolving business units in Digital Asset Staking, Mining, Asset Management, Investment Banking, Principal Investments, and Trading, will all benefit from his leadership role in the Board and our team.”