Ether, the cryptocurrency minted on the Ethereum blockchain, is the second biggest cryptocurrency in market cap, behind Bitcoin. But though Bitcoin, the original crypto, gets the spotlight, Ether is actually the most used coin. It reached an all-time high on Thursday night, touching $4,400 for the first time.
The cryptocurrency's previous all-time high was $4,379, which it reached in May. Like Bitcoin, Ether had seen its price rise sharply since late 2020, entering 2021 at $383. Also like Bitcoin, its price crashed in May after Chinese authorities cracked down on cryptocurrency services, including mining.
Ether's price dipped to under $1,800 in July before it started climbing back, reaching $4,400 on Thursday. At the time of writing, the price stood at $4,305. Causes of cryptocurrency price movements can be hard to pin down, but Ether's new high seems to be off the twin accelerators of the Shiba Inu coin's massive volume and the implementation of an upgrade to the Ethereum blockchain that will make minting new coins significantly more energy efficient.
While Bitcoin enjoys much more widespread recognition, its function is largely limited to it being a speculative asset. Developers instead choose the Ethereum network to build NFTs and altcoins, which means ether has become the default currency in crypto markets.
Shiba Inu, a riff on the famous DogeCoin "memecoin," is one of the many altcoins built on the Ethereum network. It became the latest crypto sensation this week. It has grown by more than 70,000,000% in the past year and 960% just this past month, according to Coinbase. The coin reached a record high of $0.000086 Wednesday, up from $0.0000000001 last October.