Major banks from JPMorgan to UBS are increasingly keen on the Ethereum blockchain network, and it’s helping the system’s cryptocurrency, ether, soar to record highs.
Ether rose to an all-time high of $2,710 during Asian trading hours, before paring some gains to stand at around $2,672 on Wednesday.
The world’s second-most popular cryptocurrency had risen 15% over the week to Wednesday, according to data provider CoinGecko. It had gained around 260% in 2021 so far, compared to a 87% rise in bitcoin.
The interest from major banks and institutions around the world in the Ethereum network has boosted ether, which is the native cryptocurrency of the network and is used for transactions on it, analysts say.
On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported the European Investment Bank is planning to sell digital bonds using the network’s technology, offering $121 million of debt. The sale will be led by Goldman Sachs, Banco Santander, and Societe Generale, Bloomberg said.
It follows a rise in interest in the blockchain network, on which a range of applications can be built, including non-fungible tokens or NFTs and new technologies in the world of so-called decentralized finance.
JPMorgan, UBS and Mastercard were among the investors in Ethereum development company ConsenSys in a $65 million funding round earlier in April.
“Enterprise Ethereum is a key infrastructure on which we, and our partners, are building payment and non-payment applications to power the future of commerce,” Raj Dhamodharan, executive vice president of digital asset products at Mastercard, said.
ConsenSys has also worked with central banks in France, Australia and Thailand on central bank digital currency projects.
Analysts also say planned upgrades to the Ethereum network to make it more efficient, lower fees and start to destroy coins are helping the ether price.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told the Unchained podcast earlier in April that the move to a more efficient system will mean “the holdback of the impact on the environment will change immediately.”
He added: “That is going to give some people a reason to use Ethereum as a store of value over bitcoin, right there.”
Lex Sokolin, head economist at ConsenSys, said: “We think that Ethereum will become a global digital economy, settling the movement of all types of value across the world, including a meaningful portion of traditional financial services.”
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