The world’s second most prominent crypto hit a new high above $ 2,000 on Friday. Ether ETHUSD, + 4.36%, which runs atop the ethereum blockchain, recently surged nearly 7% to around $ 2,069 after hitting an all-time high of $ 2,082.58 the previous Friday, according to CoinDesk. That’s comfortably above its February 20 record at $ 2,036.55 put.
The gains for crypto, which is known for its ability to allow smart contracts to be encoded in the ethereum protocol, come as Visa Inc. V, + 2.42% has become the first major payment platform to use USD Coin. , a stablecoin backed by the US Dollar, for settling crypto transactions via the ethereum blockchain. Visa users will be able to exchange USD Coin through the credit card payment network to offset transactions made in fiat currency, a move that is seen as closing the gap between traditional currencies and credit. The payment processor movement highlights the growing use of decentralized financial applications, operating largely within the ethereum network, to create new blockchain-related applications that take advantage of smart contracts. Decentralized financial networks, or DeFi, allow users to transact without an intermediary and have been widely regarded as one of the most important attractions of crypto assets. “Over the past year, more than $ 45 billion in user funds have been locked into Ethereum-based applications that fall into this new DeFi category, which seeks to recreate traditional financial products in a decentralized manner,” wrote Sergey Nazarov, co-founder. from Chainlink, a gateway network that enables smart contracts to access real-time data outside of your network. The promise of the utility of smart contracts and DeFi has supported the view by some that Ethereum could one day compete with the prices of bitcoin. “There’s basically a decentralized Wall Street flourishing on Ethereum that is currently growing faster than any other sector in the entire crypto industry, and it all requires ETH to function, which probably accounts for a good chunk of the increased focus on the asset.” , Nazarov. saying. Meanwhile, bitcoin prices BTCUSD, + 0.65% posted moderate gains, changing hands at around $ 60,000 or just below its all-time high at $ 61,556.59, according to CoinDesk. Optimism around bitcoin and the broader crypto sector has centered on increased institutional adoption of digital assets as alternatives to gold and other commodities. On top of that, a report later this week points to an initial public offering by Coinbase Global Inc. COIN, + 3.70%, which plans to go public on April 14 under the ticker symbol “Coin” via a listing. direct at Nasdaq Inc. NDAQ, + 2.30% Coinbase, founded in 2012, provides crypto trading services for institutional and retail clients and is considered the largest digital exchange platform in the US. Ether has gained 180% so far in 2021, far exceeding Bitcoin, 105% Same period. By comparison, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, + 0.52% is up more than 8%, the S&P 500 SPX Index, + 1.18% is up 7% year-to-date, while GC00 gold, + 0.86% are down almost 9%. in the year to date.