It’s been a wild past few weeks for Ethereum, as it’s long awaited Homestead release has been widely applauded, many large businesses have publically announced they would be experimenting with building out their own blockchains apps on the Ethereum platform. What’s more remarkable in the evolving story of Ethereum is how fast it has reached a market cap of $1 billion dollars. The rise began in the middle of January of 2016, the market cap steadily rose through February and into March.
While the future of Ethereum, as with other blockchain based technology isn’t certain, the willingness of big corporations in the financial, insurance, education other huge industries to experiment with it has given many early-stage developers, enthusiasts and investors the courage to get involved. What’s more, the timing of Ethereum’s rise in early 2016 could be viewed as coincidentally in tune with some of the problems that a similar cryptographic ecosystem is having in Bitcoin’s hard-fork and block-size dispute. While Ethereum has and continues to state that it isn’t a direct competitor to Bitcoin, but rather a supplementary and complementary offering that offers a very different value set, the fact that Ether is a tradable cryptocurrency and is associated with a fast-growing technology has made it an attractive bet for those worried about their positioning with Bitcoin.
Can Ethereum or Ether be chunked into the “alt-coin” expression? Hardly. With the marketcap of Ether hitting $1 billion, it’s more valuable than all of the other alt-coins combined. So really, Ethereum and Ether are in a league of their own now. So where will the market cap and trading price of Ether level off? It certainly is a matter of adoption and growth at this point – if we see the proliferation of Dapps in one or more large scale industry, this may drive the market cap to double or more. It’s also still entirely unclear how the effects of smaller consumer based startups could drive the growth of Ether in a broader scale market.
Regardless of speculation, the future looks bright in theory and application of the Ethereum blockchain platform and if nothing else, it will continue to drive innovation towards a more decentralized world.