Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency after bitcoin, has broken away from bitcoin and surged higher in recent days.
The ethereum price has rocketed 30% over the last week, smashing through the closely-watched $3,000 level and taking its year-on-year gains to almost 1,500%.
As ethereum notches fresh price highs, investors have warned bitcoin is at risk of falling behind.
“The cryptocurrency space today looks very similar to the internet space in 1997,” Fahad Kamal, the chief investment officer at Société Générale’s U.K. private bank Kleinwort Hambros, told Business Insider.
“In 1997, we thought Netscape Navigator was by far the most advanced sophisticated browser and there would never be anything to compete with that. And, obviously, here we are, Netscape is long [gone]. In 10 years, I have no doubt that blockchain technology is going to be a very serious force in our lives. I have much, much less conviction or faith in whether bitcoin will be around that long.
“There are other cryptocurrencies… which are arguably much better in their construction and in their underpinnings. Ethereum, for example.”
The cryptocurrency community has long been divided over bitcoin and ethereum with so-called bitcoin maxis arguing ethereum is not a good store of value while ethereum investors criticize bitcoin for its clunky blockchain technology.
With the ethereum price outperforming the bitcoin price by two-to-one over the last year, ethereum bulls have ramped up their expectations and predictions that a future decentralized internet will be built on ethereum’s blockchain.
“Ethereum can be expected to significantly dent bitcoin’s market dominance over the next year and beyond,” Nigel Green, chief executive and founder of deVere Group, said in emailed comments. Green expects the ethereum price to hit $5,000 per ether token in the coming week, pointing to “soaring interest from major institutional investors” and the growth of decentralized finance (DeFi) and NFTs.
“Compared to its bigger rival, ethereum is more scalable, offers more uses and solutions, such as smart contracts which are already used across many sectors, and is backed with superior blockchain technology. Ethereum is already years ahead of bitcoin in everything but price and fame. There’s a real sense that 2021 is the year for ethereum. Its time has come.”