Ripple and Ethereum Soar To New Heights As Bitcoin Cash Also Jumps

The crypto currencies Ripple and Ethereum soared to new heights on Wednesday in another day of record breaking price surges. Ripple was up by over 50% after Tuesday's similar surge to reach around $0.59 which is more than double the price it was trading at just a few days ago. Ethereum also saw an incredible price surge to reach a high of $750 and analysts are predicting that the magical $1000 is not far off the horizon. Bitcoin Cash also experienced a huge surge in the early hours touching the $2000 mark before falling back slightly to around $1,800 which is still very near its all-time record high. The major crypto currency Bitcoin did not move much yesterday and flirted with the $17,000 mark before retreating to around $16,200 on average even dropping to $15,900 at one point. Litecoin remained at the record $300 level but did not move much either when compared to the other cryptos. Dash also achieved record highs of well over $900. Cryptocurrencies achieved another historic milestone this week, as their combined market caps leaped above the $500 billion mark on the heels of an altcoin rally led by the ethereum and ripple prices.

Cryptocurrencies Now Worth Half a Trillion Dollars

The cryptocurrency market cap had begun the day at $467 billion, and it seemed unlikely that it would reach the $500 billion mark this quickly - especially considering that bitcoin ended the day trading sideways. However, fueled by an altcoin surge, the crypto market cap leaped above the $500 billion barrier Tuesday evening and eventually rose as high as $505.9 billion before tapering to a present value of $504.3 billion. At this level, cryptocurrencies are now worth more than Berkshire-Hathaway, the holding company run by legendary investor - and bitcoin skeptic - Warren Buffett. Ordinarily, one expects these market cap rallies to coincide with dramatic bitcoin price climbs, but that was not the case today. Although the bitcoin price hit an all-time high on bitcoin exchange Bitfinex, the global average topped out at $17,781, after which it fell back toward its previous-day level. At present, the bitcoin price is trading at $17,184, which represents a single-day increase of one percent and provides bitcoin with a $287.6 billion market cap. The ethereum price posted an impressive advance for the second-consecutive day, rising 25 percent and briefly extending as high as $686. At present, the ethereum price is trading at a global average of $681, which translates into a $65.6 billion market cap.

Bitcoin cash, the third-largest cryptocurrency, rose three percent for the day, but its closest rival is growing increasingly larger in its rearview mirror. That's because the ripple price exploded by 71 percent amid insatiable demand from Korean traders. Ripple now has a market cap of $18.4 billion, meaning that if it can replicate this single-day performance one more time, it will supplant bitcoin cash and rise to third in the rankings.

Ripple's surge enabled it to race back ahead of litecoin, whose breathtaking gains began to taper on Wednesday morning. At present, the litecoin price is trading at $310, which represents a single-day increase of 12 percent. Sixth-ranked IOTA was the lone cryptocurrency in the top 10 to decline for the day, perhaps signaling that the bulls have run out of steam following last week's incredible rally. Dash and monero each crossed historic milestones after double-digit percentage price increases. They are currently valued at $916 and $330, respectively. Ninth-ranked NEM traded sideways, while bitcoin gold rose by about seven percent to round out the top 10. The Ethereum price has surpassed $752 for the first time in history, recording a staggering 20 percent increase in value over the past 24 hours, led by the US market. Throughout the past few days, the US market accounted for nearly 25 percent of global Ether trades. GDAX, the flagship cryptocurrency exchange of Coinbase, and Bitfinex processed 23 percent of the global Ethereum exchange market's Ether trades. Currently, the daily trading volume of Ether is close to $5 billion, more than four times larger than Bitcoin Cash, the third largest cryptocurrency in the global market behind bitcoin and Ethereum.

What is Pushing Ethereum Price Up?

Earlier this month, billionaire investor Mike Novogratz predicted the price of Ether to increase by three-fold throughout 2018. In terms of developer activity and transaction volume, Ethereum remains as the only public blockchain network which can compete against bitcoin. In fact, as of current, the Ethereum blockchain network processes more transactions than all of the cryptocurrencies in the market including bitcoin combined at 820,000 transactions per day. Decentralized applications such as CryptoKitties and EtherDelta have also demonstrated the potential of Ethereum as the base protocol for decentralized exchanges and digital asset trading platforms, which is an application that is useful beyond finance. As A16Z partner and CEO Balaji Srinivasan stated, "Why is CryptoKitties actually important? It's one of the first examples of what people have been talking about for years: frictionless international trading of digital assets (not just cash!) on a blockchain." Already, CryptoKitties has processed $15 million worth of digital kittens within the past two months and other dapps like EtherDelta have also been processing more than 80,000 transactions on a daily basis.

Sharing a similar sentiment as Litecoin creator and former Coinbase executive Charlie Lee, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin questioned whether the half of trillion dollar market valuation of cryptocurrencies can be justified. "So total cryptocoin market cap just hit $0.5T today. But have we earned it? How many unbanked people have we banked? How much censorship-resistant commerce for the common people have we enabled? How many decentralized applications have we created that have substantial usage? Low added value per user for using a blockchain is fine, but then you have to make up for it in volume. How much value is stored in smart contracts that actually do anything interesting? How many Venezuelans have actually been protected by us from hyperinflation? How much actual usage of micropayment channels is there actually in reality?" Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies are transforming the global finance sector and more multi trillion dollar industries at a rapid rate. But, Buterin emphasized that cryptocurrencies in the market including Ethereum have not done enough to solve the problems he mentioned in the statement above. At least not sufficient to justify the $0.5 trillion market valuation. "In the last 3 years, the crypto market cap has increased by 200x, but I definitely don't feel like crypto's potential has increased by 200x. In some key sectors (eg. payments) it has even regressed," Buterin added. But, Buterin also noted that these questions must be asked for the cryptocurrency community to increase developer activity around leading blockchains and collaborate on improving the infrastructures of blockchain networks like Ethereum.