The price of Ether, ethereum’s native token, is closing in on record highs above $400 on November 23.
With its recent surge in price, the market valuation of Ethereum has moved closer to the $40 billion mark, a market cap that is larger than seven of the 10 largest cryptocurrencies in the market combined, with the exception of bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.
The demand for Ether has been evenly distributed across two major markets, South Korea and the US. South Korea’s Bithumb, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world by trading volume, has accounted for nearly 15 percent of Ether trades over the past 24 hours.
Alternative cryptocurrencies (altcoins) in the market tend to follow the price trend of Ether. As the price of Ether surged from around $380 to $415, other altcoins followed. The vast majority of altcoins in the market recorded significant gains, especially Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Monero.
Frank Schuil, the CEO at Safello, one of Europe’s largest bitcoin brokerages and wallet platforms, recently revealed that the Ethereum network has been processing more transactions on a daily basis than the entire cryptocurrency market, including bitcoin.
On average, the Ethereum network settles over 544,000 transactions, which is approximately 52 percent of the cryptocurrency market’s transactions. Bitcoin on average processes 270,000 transactions per day, around 50 percent of the Ethereum network’s daily transaction volume.
The Ethereum network has started to settle more transactions than the Bitcoin network since the execution of the Byzantium hard fork in October. Donald McIntyre, the founder of Etherplan and highly regarded Ethereum analyst, noted that the demand for Ethereum as a settlement network has increased, primarily due to the increase in transaction fees of the Bitcoin network.
Although transaction fees on the Bitcoin network have significantly declined since October, due to SegWit and the restructuring of the global bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash hash rate, wallet platforms such as Blockchain and Coinbase recommend a fee of around $0.8 for non-SegWit transactions, which is around 9x more than the recommended fee for Ethereum transactions.
Blockchain, the second largest wallet platform behind Coinbase, has announced that it intends to integrate SegWit by early 2018. Still, until then, it is not possible for users on non-SegWit wallet platforms to experience nearly 35 percent reduction in fees.
Increase in demand for Ether
The relatively slow adoption rate of SegWit and network instability of other blockchain networks like Bitcoin Cash have ultimately led to the increase in demand for Ether. As such, Ethereum has begun to settle significantly more transactions than other leading blockchain networks.
With significant progress being made with open-source scaling projects like Plasma and Sharding, strong community of conglomerates within the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, and the integration of innovative cryptographic systems such as ZK-SNARKs, the market remains optimistic in the mid-term future of Ethereum in terms of technology advancement, adoption, and rise in the popularity of decentralized applications.