Ethereum appears to be making a comeback with its price considerably rising during the past week from around $10 to over $13, settling at around $12.80.
The second biggest digital currency returns to a market cap of above $1 billion following news that JP Morgan, Microsoft, BP and other household brands are working on launching Enterprise Ethereum, a modified fork of ethereum to be used for private blockchains.
There were suggestions the household brands will also contribute to the public ethereum blockchain, but no further details were provided.
On other ethereum related news, Melonport, a “blockchain protocol for digital asset management on the Ethereum platform” – according to the greenpaper, sold out its almost $2 million ICO in about 13 minutes with 99% of the token gone in 3 minutes.
This is probably the fastest sell out of any ICO, indicating a huge demand to fund innovative start-ups in the ethereum space specifically and the wider blockchain space more generally.
A Boom in ICOs
Rather than holding ETH, etherumers appear to prefer parking their currency on eth based tokens which may earn returns through price appreciation and through profit-sharing schemes depending on the ICO’s terms.
The legality of these arrangements is not very clear. It is probable that any sale under $5 million is fine, but scams should be expected.
I’ve long suggested the setting up of a non-governing body to ensure some sort of quality and accountability, but its implementation probably suffers from the commons problem – it’s in no one individual’s interest to take up the initiative, but it is in everyone’s interest for it to be established.
The Trump administration is currently very busy, but now that UK is mired in Brexit, USA may take the torch and lead the world in providing some sort of regulation for quality assurance while not hampering innovation.
Specifically, they could fund the non-governing body and initiate its establishment while inviting many leaders in this space to sit on its board or provide input.
Might Eth Overtake Bitcoin?
Bitcoin has seen an incredible rise in 2016, but the digital currency has now stagnated as far as the protocol and underlying innovation is concerned. After almost two years of debate on how to increase transaction capacity, no solution appears likely. Bitcoin may therefore continue to operate for much of this year at over capacity – a first in its eight-year’s history.
Bitcoin based transaction fees are seemingly increasing exponentially. The user experience has considerably degraded to slow, unpredictable and frustrating. Businesses have long called for a solution, but no one appears to be listening.
The currency, nonetheless, leads in brand recognition and is reaping the rewards of a billion or more invested in its infrastructure in 2013. Since then, such investments have fallen considerably, potentially stocking up problems in the near future.
Its main use now appears to be that of acting as a hedge, but that seems to be solely based on its brand recognition and an easily copied limited number of coins which can no longer move conveniently or cheaply.
The currency, therefore, seems ripe for disruption. With the second largest market cap, a well-funded and capable development team, corporate interest, additional functionality in smart contracts, 17 seconds average times for transaction confirmations and plans for unlimited scalability, Ethereum might be best placed for such disruption if it happens.
Whether it will, remains to be seen. It may well be the case that the two currencies have their own niche with bitcoin being like tor – slow, clunky, inconvenient, prioritizing edge cases above all else – while Ethereum might turn out to be bitcoin’s version of Firefox – fast, cheap, convenient, privacy conscious, prioritizing ordinary users while being inclusive of edge cases.
Although there are many races in the blockchain space and even races within races, currently, the one between Bitcoin and Ethereum is the most interesting. How this will play, all will be watching as a general realization and awareness now rises that blockchain technology will soon transform the world.
Image from Shutterstock.