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Ethereum Flirts With Record Highs as Buterin Compares Crypto Surge to Salvator Mundi Auction

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Ethereum resumed its descent Monday, a mere 24 hours after hitting new highs, a sign that the CryptoKitties bump was beginning to wear down.

ETH/USD Price Levels

Ether’s dollar-denominated trade value plunged 10% on Monday to reach an intraday low near $429. Prices would later recover near $450 for a loss of nearly 6%. ETH/USD has declined 2.7% over the past five days in what has been a period of relative calm for the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency.

That being said, prices briefly traded at record highs over the weekend, touching $518. That narrowly beat the Nov. 29 high of $514.

At present values, the ether market is capitalized at nearly $44 billion, which is only a fraction of bitcoin’s $260 billion value. Ether’s 24-hour transaction volume came in at nearly $1.5 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.

Volumes were evenly dispersed across the exchanges. Bitfinex’s ETH/USD pair saw the highest volume at 7.4% of the total market, which was equivalent to $108 million. Poloniex processed nearly 7% of ether’s daily turnover via ETH/BTC.

Ethereum rebounded from record lows against bitcoin, but remains relatively subdued as the world’s no. 1 crypto continues to dominate the market. ETH/BTC plunged 11% to 0.028040.

CryptoKitties

Much of the excitement surrounding Ethereum lately has centered on CryptoKitties, a simple collectibles-based game that was built on the ether blockchain. The game, which was released Nov. 28, allows users to purchase, trade and even breed digital kittens. Some analysts have likened the game to Tamagotchi, a handheld digital pets game launched in 1996.

Transactions on Cryptocurrencies are processed using ether, which is Ethereum’s native token. Industry estimates show that Cryptokitties transactions account for nearly 20% of all computations on the Ethereum platform. This figure appears to be growing continuously.

Although the game was immediately dismissed by members of the cryptocuurrency community,  Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin and Earn.com CEO Balaji Srinivasan said the game had more virtues than some cared to recognize.

“Why is Cryptokitties actually important?” asked Balaji. “It’s one of the first examples of what people have been talking about for years: frictionless international trading of digital assets (not just cash!) on a blockchain. Basically what Fred Wilson saw.”

Earn.com markets itself as the “first token-based social network.”

At the same time, the CryptoKitties phenomenon presents several challenges for the Ethereum ecosystem related to scalability, future growth and ICO risk.

Ethereum continues to be the platform of choice for the budding ICO industry. The amount of money raised through the controversial crowdfunding model is fast approaching $4 billion for the year. The phenomenon doesn’t appear to be dying off anytime soon as more startups look to raise money to fuel their expansion.

That being said, many token raises and the issuers that back them are attempting to circumnavigate securities regulations by building a utility token. It remains to be seen how the regulatory landscape will evolve to keep up with the evolving nature of the industry. Equally important is how the cryptocurrency community will come together to address regulatory issues.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

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