Continued interest in the underlying blockchain behind ethereum has led to support from big companies such as Microsoft.
Ethereum, an alternative cryptocurrency to bitcoin, hit a fresh record high on Sunday, amid continued interest in the digital asset space and increased trade from Asia.
On Sunday, ethereum traded at an all-time high of $250.41, according to data from industry website CoinDesk. This is up 2,839 percent from the $8.52 handle it had on January 1. Ethereum was trading at around $246.62 on Monday morning, slightly off its record high.
Ether is the name of the cryptocurrency which runs on the ethereum blockchain, which is the technology that underpins the digital coin. But ethereum is often used as shorthand for the digital currency as well.
Ethereum has been designed to support so-called smart contract applications. A smart contract is a computer program that can automatically execute the terms of a contract when certain conditions are met. It’s this practical use of ethereum which has excited many large corporates and investors, and led to the rally.
But there are a number of other reasons supporting the price. These include:
Much of the trading volume in ethereum at the moment — around 38 percent — is coming from South Korea, according to industry website CryptoCompare with rising interest from other regions.
“All major Asian exchanges, including ours, are currently overwhelmed by the sudden growth in our client base and trading activity, ” Aurelien Menant, founder and CEO of Gatecoin, a regulated bitcoin and ethereum exchange based in Hong Kong, told CNBC by email.
“Specifically, requests for more ether trading pairs seems to be a common theme, ” Menant added, highlighting the growing interest for traders based in a number of countries.