While much of the media and public attention has been understandably focused on Bitcoin in recent months, a far more dramatic move has taken place in Bitcoin's less popular peer, Ethereum. To be sure, one month ago, when we noticed the first tangible move higher in ETH since last summer's dramatic plunge following a highly public hacking scandal which involved a "forking" in the blockchain, we mused if China's furious momentum chasers were turning their attention from bitcoin to ethereum.
Did China shift from BTC to ETH— zerohedge (@zerohedge) February 14, 2017
While the jury is still out on whether Chinese traders have shifted their attention to the less popular digital currency, this morning Ethereum surpassed all-time highs and was trading above $30. As of publication time, the blockchain-based unit had soared by over a third in just the past 24 hours according to Coinbase and CoinGecko ...
And had more than tripled since the start of the year.
The recent surge in Ethereum began on February 27, when as we reported the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance was launched, a project focussing on Blockchain propagation and innovation for international business which includes such members as JPM, Intel and Microsoft.
Curiously, another big move took place after the rejection of the Bitcoin ETF by the SEC late on Friday, when various "altcoins" experienced a slight drop followed by a sweeping comeback, as some speculated that public attention could now shift to various Bitcoin competitors.
That said, some have expressed skepticism if the current rally can persist, most notably leading Ethereum developer Vlad Zamfir, who last week wrote that Ethereum “euphoria” could soon end due to the prospect of another hard fork. “I am not feeling any euphoria anymore. I am mostly filled with concern about how everything could go horribly wrong,” he warned.
"I say it because I want you to understand where I’m coming from when I react to feeling euphoria in the Ethereum community. I felt euphoria for about the first eight to 12 months of becoming involved in Ethereum— I am not feeling any euphoria anymore. I am mostly filled with concern about how everything could go horribly wrong, with feelings of being overwhelmed, with being unable to keep up with everything that I feel requires my attention."
Zamfir wrote in his blog post that Blockchains are not toys, they are neither get rich quick schemes nor a shiny tool for automating business processes. "They are powerful technology that have the potential to do unspeakable harm. But they can also provide the basis for solutions to serious global problems," he pointed out. He claimed that he is not rubbishing Ethereum because it is not an exciting technology or he doesn't care about all the work the community is doing. He claims he is very optimistic about the future of the platform but troubled by the no room for opposition. Zamfir explained further:
"I didn’t make that tweet because Ethereum isn’t safe or scalable, really, I did it because I find the current level of euphoria quite offensive. Maybe it isn’t my place to keep euphoria in check. Maybe it is. I don’t know. But I will probably continue to express myself by turning my feelings into radical, unnuanced tweets nonetheless."
Cited by CoinTelegraph, the consultant then said that Ethereum is not safe and he cannot guarantee there won't be a 51% attack on the network unless there is a hard fork to minimize the damage. Likewise, on smart contracts, he has the same opinion. He did, however, concede that a lot of smart people in the Ethereum community are working hard to make Ethereum safe and secure with smart contract formal verification efforts and with proof-of-stake consensus protocol research.
"I think that we will continue to make steady and impressive progress on these safety problems," Zamfir acknowledged.
He is also optimistic Ethereum will get better:"Granted that all Blockchains suck. Is Ethereum at least more safe or scalable than other Blockchains? Maybe. But that is a nuanced discussion that won’t fit in this margin."
Since his post, Ethereum has nearly doubled in value.