Trading in Ethereum’s digital currency, Ether (ETH), briefly surpassed bitcoin for the first time on Thursday afternoon. The trading preceded an eight percent price drop in Bitcoin, plunging from $1,222 down to $1,132 before recovering to $1,180 in the afternoon.
Ether has been trading at record highs over the past week. The “fuel” for Ethereum is up 23% today alone. On Thursday morning, around 9 AM Eastern Standard Time, the 24 hour trading volume totalled $424.9 million USD, while bitcoin’s was still at $383.7 million. Bitcoin’s trading volume has historically dwarfed Ethereum, and the “honeybadger” of crypto quickly regained it’s position.
Bitcoin’s dominance over the altcoin market has been slipping all week, and today it plunged to an all-time low of 73 percent, down from 84 percent on Saturday. The drop marks the first time that bitcoin’s market cap made up less than three-quarters of the total cryptocurrency market’s capitalization.
Meanwhile, ether’s market cap surpassed four billion dollars, as it hit highs above $47 on Thursday, up 282% over the last seven days. Ether trading is largely conducted in bitcoin, with the US dollar, Chinese yuan, and Korean won following at an accelerated pace.
Before Saturday, Ether’s previous all time high was recorded on Bitfinex, $21.69 on June 16, during the infamous DAO attack, which resulted in Ethereum’s blockchain undergoing a hard fork that led to the creation of the cryptocurrency ethereum classic (ETC).
Ether broke through it’s all time high on Saturday, and has been trending upwards all week. The biggest jump came on Thursday afternoon, taking the cryptocurrency from $40.47 to $46.20 in an hour and 35 minutes. The currency is currently trading around $47.70.
The surge was noted locally by Chinese Bitcoin news source 8BTC, which received word that Bitcoin exchange Yunbi, who had started trading ether earlier in the year, was forced to halt Ether withdrawals to certain addresses after they had been used for a Pyramid Scheme.
“Recently, some of the platform use ETH to do pyramid schemes. In order to comply with the AML policy of PBoC, Yunbi will reinforce ETH withdrawal inspection. Yunbi has the responsibility to freeze the suspicious users account and report the materials to the regulation administration. YUNBI will strictly comply with the AML policy and work with regulation department to strike the illegal assets using the blockchain to escape oversea.”
– Yunbi exchange, translation by 8BTC.com
A variety of exchanges started trading Ether throughout 2016, and the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) launched on March 3rd. The EEA and Microsoft jointly announced their participation, alongside fortune 500 companies including Intel, J.P. Morgan, BNY Mellon, BP, ING, Thomson Reuters and several blockchain startups. Former Bitcoin developer and Bloq CEO Jeff Garzik has been appointed to the alliance’s Technical Steering Board.
The consortium has released a paper that outlines the organization’s “vision for users and stakeholders to propose, implement, and integrate advances to the Ethereum protocol with support for Enterprise Ethereum protocols.” The EEA’s mission is to “build upon the only smart contract supporting blockchain currently running in real-world production and to define enterprise-grade software capable of handling the most complex, highly demanding applications at the speed of business.”
In the meantime, the Bitcoin scaling debate has been growing more and more contentious. Deadlock between the two sides is apparent to everyone in the space. The issue was highlighted by a Coinbase announcement on Tuesday. The company will no longer be paying for bitcoin transaction fees to and from their wallets. Starting on March 21, the largest bitcoin bank will start charging the standard bitcoin network fees for the first time, citing Bitcoin network congestion. “We now have over 6 million users worldwide, and this has become a significant cost,” the company said.