Virtual currencies have captured the imagination of investors worldwide in the last few weeks or such. However, due to their volatile nature they even have struck fear among others, and confused the heck out of the rest of us. Most notably, Bitcoin has caught the imagination of the investors, and seemed unassailable in its dominance of the cryptocurrency market, being the first digital currency to establish itself in the mainstream. However, a lot of other cryptocurrencies have emerged in the market ever since, each one vying with the other to seek dominance. Ethereum is the other rising star in this domain. It has turned out to be the second largest digital currency in just over two years. While most of the investors worldwide are focused on Bitcoin, ether is slowly dominating the market share.
What is ethereum?
Ether (ethereum currency) was launched in the year 2015 and it has gained more than 6,800 percent since 2017 beginning. After bitcoin, ether runs on the ethereum blockchain technology which was first described by the then 19-year-old bitcoin programmer Vitalik Buterin in 2013. The total value of all the ether in circulation is now $46 billion at $480 per coin, against $180 billion at a value of $10,000 for bitcoin. Ether has risen by more than 5,000 percent since the start of the year. It is the second-largest cryptocurrency after bitcoin, with a market capitalization of more than $40 billion.
Rise of cryptocurrency
The rise of this alternative asset class is indeed intriguing, given that it has not even been a decade since bitcoin came into existence in 2009. Now, there are at least more than a 1,000 active virtual currencies out there. The organic nature of the currency and the fact that it is not issued by any central authority — some believe that it may be immune to government intervention or manipulation — makes it an alluring alternative to mainstream currency. Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of Nvidia Corporation, recently said that cryptocurrency and blockchain are here to stay. “Over time, it will become quite large. It is very clear that new currencies will come to market,” said the CEO of the company which makes core processor and graphics processor for gaming devices and professional market.
Blockchain is like a digital ledger in which transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publicly. Cryptocurrencies market has seen a lot of activity, with the prominent currencies recording enormous price gains.
However, not everybody is bullish on the prospects of cryptocurrencies going forward. In fact from the same semiconductor space, CEO of AMD (Advanced Micro Devices, Inc) Lisa Su said that cryptocurrency won’t be a long term growth driver for the company.
On Wednesday, Bitcoin had hit $11,000 mark for the first time soaring by 900 percent this year alone. Following this, renowned hedge fund manager Michael Novogratz had called a target of $40,000 on the cryptocurrency by the end of 2018, even as the regulators kept on the edge over the rapid surge in the value and the hot air building up around it.
However, legendary investor Warren Buffett had said in an interview to CNBC in 2014 that bitcoin is a “mirage”, adding that investors should “stay away from it”. In the same interview, Warren Buffett said, “It’s a method of transmitting money. It’s a very effective way of transmitting money and you can do it anonymously and all that. A cheque is a way of transmitting money, too. Are cheques worth a whole lot of money just because they can transmit money?… The idea that it has some huge intrinsic value is just a joke in my view.” Reiterating his belief on Bitcoins and cryptocurrencies, Warren Buffett told Marketwatch in October this year: “You can’t value bitcoin because it’s not a value-producing asset,” adding that it is a “real bubble in that sort of thing”.