ethereum
  • Ethereum passes $500 per coin for the first time on Wednesday.
  • The cryptocurrency has risen over 5,000% so far this year. The rally has been supported by the popularity of “initial coin offerings” that use the Ethereum network.

LONDON — Ethereum passed $500 for the first time on Wednesday.

The digital currency is up over 8% against the dollar at close to 2.30 p.m. GMT (9.30 a.m. ET).The price surge mirrors that of bitcoin, which passed $10,000 per coin for the first time on Tuesday evening and has already surpassed $11,000 per coin.

The cryptocurrency market has ballooned in size this year to over $330 billion amid a flurry of interest from retail investors. Ethereum itself has risen over 5,000% in 2017.

Ethereum’s price rise has been supported by the boom in popularity of initial coin offerings, where startups issue digital coins in exchange for real money to fund their projects. Most issuances are based on the ethereum blockchain and this usage has pushed up the price.

Charles Hayter, the CEO of Cryptocompare, said in an email on Wednesday: “To invest in many of these ICOs one must use Bitcoin or Ethereum in the majority of cases. $3.2 Million was invested in January 2017, this has increased to a peak of over $720 Million in June.

“With a total of $3.8 Billion invested to date, the vast majority of which has been invested in 2017. The ICO craze has had a much more significant impact on the price of Ethereum which is the primary way to invest in ICOs.”

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