The price of Ethereum has experienced a major surge, as the world's second most valuable cryptocurrency mirrored Bitcoin's market movements on Tuesday.
Ethereum's digital token ether rose by 10 per cent to above $150, taking it to its highest value since February.
The gains were not as significant as bitcoin, which rose by around 20 per cent in less than an hour, but analysts say it could signal an end to the recent bear market.
"The bitcoin price crossed the $5,000 mark, touching the highest level since November 2018 in the early hours of Tuesday, London time," said Nigel Green, chief executive of financial advisory firm deVere Group.
"All other major cryptocurrencies, including Ethereum, XRP and Litecoin have experienced gains of around 10 per cent. This dramatic jump is likely to attract many investors who have been sitting on the sidelines. In addition, it can be expected to reignite institutional interest."
Since launching in 2015, six years after bitcoin, Ethereum has seen remarkable growth due to its functionality, which extends beyond just being an alternative payment system.
Like Bitcoin, Ethereum relies on the same underlying blockchain technology that means it is decentralised and does not rely on traditional financial institutions like banks to function.
But beyond being a virtual currency, Ethereum was designed as a software platform that enables applications such as smart contracts – which are self-executing, secure contracts – to be built and run without the need of a third party.
This means it aims to not just decentralise banks but decentralise the entire internet.
Its utility has led some industry experts to speculate that Ethereum could one day surpass bitcoin as the world's leading cryptocurrency.
"Ethereum has the possibility to overtake the market capitalisation, and thus the value, of bitcoin," Hubert Olszewski, director of business development at Blockchain Board of Derivatives, told The Independent last April. "This is because from the get-go it was a more versatile tool."
Ethereum's recent gains may give investors hope that it can fulfil such expectation, though it still remains a long way off bitcoin – and a long way down from its $1,400 peak from January 2018.
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