Investors bullish on the long term prospects of Ethereum

The multi-faceted crypto currency Ethereum continued rising in the past days and is currently very close to its all-time high of $400. Although it has been rising slowly and consistently, it seems that one may expect more gains to be made in the near future with investors and analysts taking of figures close to 5/600 by the end of the year. Having clocked an eleven-day high on Sunday, the price of ether, ethereum's native token, may have more gains ahead. As per CoinMarketCap, the cryptocurrency rose to $371.29 yesterday - its highest level since Sep. 2. Week-on-week, ETH has gained 13.22 percent, while on a monthly basis, it is up 15.08 percent. At time of writing, the ether-U.S. dollar (ETH/USD) exchange rate is at $358 levels. ETH seems to have pushed fears over the Parity wallet freeze on the back burner and moved higher to $350 levels in line with the bullish technicals as expected. The bid tone strengthened on Nov. 16 alongside a Bloomberg report that said the second-biggest cryptocurrency is poised to get its own derivatives market. "Contracts on the ether digital currency will be offered by an as-yet-unnamed exchange going by the code name Virtuoso," the report said. "Virtuoso" will reportedly be regulated by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and plans to offer futures, non-deliverable forwards, swaps and forwards by the first or second quarter of 2018. If the plan comes to fruition, ether derivatives will provide an avenue for yield-hungry institutional investors to invest in an asset that is up 4,000 percent on a year-to-date basis. The price action analysis suggests ether is aiming for record highs and any dips are likely to be short-lived. The ETH market is also beginning to show signs of life as the ICO industry also picks up around the globe. Analysts are also seeing ICOs being launched in countries like India which continue to lag behind as far as usage of cryptos and ICOs are concerned. This is only going to increase the demand for ETH and we are already seeing signs of that as the prices have pushed through the $340 region and trade comfortably above the $350 region as of this writing and looking good for more. Mike Novogratz, the billionaire hedge fund investor and former executive at Fortress, believes Ether, the native cryptocurrency of Ethereum, is poised to achieve new all-time highs in the short-term. "ETH looks poised for a move to new highs. Lots of good news on the horizon," said Novogratz, emphasizing innovative developments conducted by leading startups including ConsenSys. Over the past few weeks, the daily trading volume of Ether has increased substantially, primarily led by the South Korean cryptocurrency exchange market. Subsequent to the South Korean government's imposition of a nationwide ban on domestic initial coin offerings (ICO) in October, the price of Ether and the demand for Ethereum decreased in South Korea for a brief period. Since then, the South Korean Ethereum exchange market has recovered, accounting for over 33 percent of the global Ethereum exchange market share, overtaking the US to solidify itself as the leading Ethereum market. Contrary to the predictions of highly respected analysts within the cryptocurrency sector, the successful execution of the Byzantium hard fork did not lead to a price surge and the price of Ether struggled to move past the $300 mark. But, the market has started to demonstrate optimism towards the network stability of Ethereum after the Byzantium hard fork, and significant progress being made with both on-chain and off-chain scaling solutions such as Plasma, sharding, and Casper. Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, revealed that several investors have inquired Buterin if the Ethereum Foundation intend to pursue ICOs for sharding and Casper. "I just had another person ask me if Casper and sharding will be a new coin and if so will there be an ICO. This makes me cry," said Buterin. As CCN previously reported, Buterin has spoken out against open-source scaling projects conducting ICOs, especially those that are not in need of specific crypto-tokens to function. It is optimistic that investors and the market are enthusiastic in regards to scaling solutions and projects within Ethereum, as shown in the recent price trend of Ether. Will Entrance of Institutional investors Into Bitcoin Market Benefit Ether? Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong revealed earlier this week that $10 billion in institutional money is awaiting to be invested into the cryptocurrency space, after launching Coinbase Custody, a cryptocurrency custodian platform for institutional and retail investors. "By some estimates there is $10B of institutional money waiting on the sidelines to invest in digital currency today," said Armstrong. Most institutional investors are planning to invest in bitcoin by the end of 2017, upon the launch of CME's bitcoin futures exchange. Man Group for instance, the $95 billion hedge fund, announced its finalized plans to invest in bitcoin. As tens of billions of dollars in institutional money shift from the traditional finance sector to bitcoin in the upcoming weeks, Ether, as the second largest cryptocurrency in the market, will benefit from the increase in interest of institutional investors towards the cryptocurrency market.