Ethereum Soars Near Record High As Hard Fork Sparks Buying Fever

The price of Ether is soaring today, heading back towards record highs as broader acceptance (UK's IG Group offer ETH trading), government discussions (ETH founder meets with Thai central bank), and perhaps most of all fork-related buying (ETH faces hard fork and traders are betting on BTC-like reaction).

Ether is surging today, heading back towards its $400 record highs from mid June.

 

There appears three main drivers of this most recent move:

First, the Ethereum Developer team has just released word that the Metropolis hard fork is set to occur in late September of this year, and we suspect crypto traders are buying in anticipation of a Bitcoin-like reaction post-fork. As CoinTelegraph reports,

The hard fork has been widely anticipated after the Ethereum road map for 2017 was released earlier this year. The map indicated that the coming release would contain some major upgrades for the platform. The announcement earlier in the year indicated a three to six-month window for release, and late September is right on the cusp of a full six months. While the timing is later than many had hoped, the news is a welcome encouragement for those seeking Ethereum upgrades.

 

The new hard fork should enable some significant upgrades.

  • First, increasing anonymity will come with new ‘zk-SNARKs,’ or Zero-knowledge proofs. Users will be able to perform anonymous transactions at higher levels than in the past.
  • Second, programming and smart contracts will be made far easier with the new upgrade, relieving some of the pressure on current programmers. Gas will also be adjusted for bill settling.
  • Third, masking for security enthusiasts will allow users to determine the address for which they have a private key. This will increase security on the network, even against quantum computer hacking.
  • Finally, the upgrade includes a ‘Difficulty-Bomb’ intended to make mining exponentially more difficult.

 

It remains unclear whether the upgrade will cause prices to increase or decrease. As mining slows, the price may fall. However, the upgrades should increase the amount of users on the system overall, causing the price to rise.

Second, the Central Bank of Thailand held a meeting with digital currency startup and Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin in mid-August 2017 to talk about such topics as the future of the Thai economy and its finance sector. As CoinTelegraph reports, the parties particularly discussed the possible integration of the digital currency Ethereum and the Blockchain-based services offered by companies like OmiseGo to further improve the country’s existing banking systems and financial platforms.

Finally, we suspect demand is also up due to news that U.K. brokerage IG Group started trading on cryptocurrency Ether, token of Ethereum network.

The company noted that the decision “enables traders to take a position on whether the value of the cryptocurrency will rise or fall, without having to take the risks associated with buying and storing it."

IG explains Ethereum is less exposed to many of the economic and political factors which affect traditional currencies, but its value is influenced by a host of unique dynamics:

  • Availability - unlike bitcoin, there is no limit on the supply of ether. Even so, many ether units will continue to be added and lost over time, causing its availability to fluctuate.
  • Wider acceptance - the ethereum ecosystem is constantly changing as adoption of the cryptocurrency grows, both among independent investors and those in industry. Additional new tokens have been issued on the ethereum network in initial coin offerings (ICOs), which have surged in popularity this year.
  • Government regulation - governments are still adapting to cryptocurrencies, with considerations for supervision mechanisms and other new guidelines.
  • Media coverage - negative press, particularly surrounding security lapses and hacks, can impact public perception of ethereum’s value.
  • Technological advance - Ethereum’s integration into payment systems, crowdfunding platforms and more could raise its profile, while confidence in traditional systems may begin to erode.
  • Market manipulation - a lack of regulation means traders may be able to influence the market by buying and selling in significant quantities.

Interestingly Bitcoin Cash is being hit hard today as Monero and Ether surge...