Ether, the native currency on the Ethereum blockchain, approached a fresh all-time high on Wednesday as bitcoin — the largest cryptocurrency in the world — lagged almost 20 percent below its record price.
The price of ether rose almost 2 percent Wednesday morning from the day prior and was last seen trading at $4,692 per coin, just 3.5 percent below the crypto’s all-time high of $4,858.82 reached last month, according to data from Coinbase.
At the same time, bitcoin was down last than 1 percent over the last 24 hours to $57,665 per coin, about 17.5 percent below its record high of $68,778 per coin also reached last month.
Bitcoin’s market capitalization is still almost double that of ether at nearly $1.1 trillion, according to CoinMarketCap.com.
Ether, and many other smaller cryptocurrencies, have largely traded in tandem with bitcoin as the rise in price of the world’s largest cryptocurrency has been seen as a sign of greater acceptance of the sector in general.
But the recent action puts ether’s performance well above that of bitcoin. Ether has soared some 530 percent since December while bitcoin has doubled in value.
The outperformance of ether may be linked to the surging popularity of the Ethereum blockchain, which is used by thousands of developers who set up decentralized apps that power everything from the DeFi and Metaverse movements to the sale of non-fungible tokens.
The bitcoin blockchain, in contrast, only recently got the ability to host so-called smart contracts, which can cut out middlemen and allow transactions to take place more swiftly on the blockchain.
“The current BTC trading window seems to associate the asset more with global currency trends, inflation hedges, etc.,” Stephane Ouellette, CEO of crypto platform FRNT Financial, told Bloomberg.
He added that “ETH has, at least from a current market perception standpoint, higher correlations with the growth of crypto sub-sectors.”
At the same time, smaller so-called alt-coins continue to see wild swings. Shiba inu, the meme cryptocurrency inspired by Dogecoin, shot up nearly 30 percent on Tuesday after it was listed on the popular Kraken exchange, for example.