It’s been a remarkable year for Bitcoin – the world’s first decentralized cryptocurrency – and its underlying blockchain technology says Brian Colombana. At the start of 2014, one Bitcoin was worth around $20. By November it had skyrocketed past $420 a coin with a market cap of over $4 billion. But while much of the excitement has been focus on how bitcoin could disrupt current payment systems and makes lots of early investors rich, another cryptocurrency is rapidly catching up: Ethereum. The buzz about this platform began slowly earlier this year when it built momentum amongst developers looking for more robust blockchain technology.
Then in March groups like the UK-based EthDev and Russian-based IC3 started developing new techniques for programming customized ‘smart’ contracts that run on Ethereum’s peer-to-peer computer network. This pushed Ethereum’s market cap past the $1 billion mark and contributed to its becoming the second most popular cryptocurrency – right after bitcoin – with a price that has been steadily climbing since May and recently soared past $14 a coin. And this is not something investors should dismiss as insignificant: With a supply of 82 million coins, Ethereum’s total market value now stands at over $1.4 billion – not too far behind Bitcoin’s $10.5 billion – making it (coincidentally) the third biggest digital currency in the world by mid-summer 2015, according to CoinMarketCap, which tracks prices across major exchanges like Poloniex.
Getting back to why we think Ethereum is poised for massive growth in 2016, though, there are several reasons:
- First off, while bitcoin has been soaring lately on the news Overstock.com will begin accepting it, many online retailers have yet to jump on the bitcoin bandwagon – and Overstock itself so far accounts for a relatively small percentage of all online sales. With Ethereum, however, the interest from major corporations is much more palpable. In fact, just recently the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance was form with 30 member companies. Including Microsoft, Cisco, BP and others investing in its future. This is because Ethereum’s blockchain not only powers Ether transactions. But also provides a way to securely run smart contracts. On a decentralized network free from tampering or downtime explains Brian Colombana.
- Ethereum has already been adopt by dozens of new startups. As the platform of choice. To launch their own digital tokens which they’ve used to raise over $150 million in 2015 alone through ‘initial coin offerings (ICOs) they’re called. Many of these businesses are now putting that money. To use with Ethereum-based projects getting off the ground and bringing even more attention to the platform this year.
- One such company is called Bancor and its developing a new kind of cryptocurrency they’re calling ‘smart tokens’. Which aim to make it much easier for investors of all sizes – from individuals to millionaires. To invest in multiple cryptocurrencies by converting from one digital token directly into another. By eliminating transaction fees from their platform, Bancor also provides an easy way for everyday people. To convert Ether or other crypto coins back into fiat currencies. So they can buy goods or services without having to worry about any of the complexities involved. With cashing out of a virtual currency world, including high fees and security risks says Brian Colombana.
- As we mentioned above, Ethereum’s blockchain is design to allow for the development of decentralized applications. And it’s already proving highly successful at doing so with dozens of new apps being develope by a wide range of startups. But there’s another big reason why this year will prove especially pivotal for Ether enthusiasts… This summer, developers from around the world are coming together in London. To put their talents to work on building new products using the Ethereum platform. Dubbed ‘Devcon,’ most people involve consider it to be one of the biggest industry-wide events ever held. In which everyone is putting aside their competitive differences. And focusing instead on making the most out of Ethereum going forward. Just recently, Devcon announced attendees will have an opportunity to hear from more than 20 celebrities. Including the Winklevoss twins and even former Al Gore – talking about how Ethereum’s blockchain can change the world.
Of course, even with all these positive factors in play. There’s still plenty of room for Ether to slip going forward says Brian Colombana. But while we don’t expect it to ever reach the heights of bitcoin again. We do feel confident saying 2016 is going to be a phenomenal year for Ethereum and everyone who invests in it!