Ether, the cryptocurrency of the Ethereal network, soared to a record high on Friday, driven in part by a new update and data showing that smart contract blockchain Ethereum burned more tokens than it emitted in the last 24 hours.
The second-largest cryptocurrency shot 3.9 percent to $4,339.86, surpassing its previous record of $4,379.62 reached back in May, as per Bloomberg. Ether is now worth about $520 billion, according to data from CoinGecko.com.
The digital asset has also outperformed Bitcoin so far this year, up more than 45 percent on a month-to-date basis versus bitcoin’s 40 percent gain, which reached a record of nearly $67,000 following the debut of the first Bitcoin futures-based exchange-traded fund.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if we go blasting through in European and U.S. trade,” said Chris Weston, research head at Melbourne-based broker Pepperstone, told Reuters. “This is a momentum beast at the moment, and it looks bloody strong.”
Meanwhile, the amount of ether burned on a daily basis set new records for two days in a row, data shows. Ethereum produced 15,109.34 ETH and burned 16,710.2 ETH in the past 24 hours, amounting to a net supply reduction of 1,600 ETH, Coin Desk reports, citing data from Tokenview.
Ethers boost appears to have been driven in part by Shiba Inu coin’s massive volume. Shiba Inu is an Ethereum-based ERC-20 token, meaning it is created on and hosted by the Ethereum blockchain, as opposed to its own blockchain. The currency reached an all-time high this week and its market cap is now over $37 billion.
Over the past year, Shiba Inu has rallied by more than 60,000,000 percent outperforming every major cryptocurrency.
An important upgrade to the Ethereal blockchain also appears to have helped, as per Reuters.
According to an Ethereum Foundation (EF) release earlier this year, Altair is an upgrade that “brings light client support, minor patches to incentives, and per-validator inactivity leak accounting.” It also introduces an” increase in slashing severity and cleanups to validator rewards accounting for simplified state management.”
Altair is one of the pivotal upgrades for Ethereum 2.0, commonly referred to as Eth2, which the company says will “make it more scalable, secure, and sustainable, to make life better for existing users and entice new ones,” while preserving its core value of decentralization.
The new update will reduce its environmental impact by 99 percent, Tim Beiko, the coordinator for Ethereum’s protocol developers, told CNBC.
The “mining” of virtual currency refers to the competitive process of mathematical computation through which the virtual currency is rewarded.
Unlike mining operations of minerals such as gold and iron, bitcoin mining doesn’t involve hulking equipment. Instead, bitcoin miners utilize warehouses of computers to solve computational problems to verify transactions, update, and maintain the bitcoin blockchain. In effect, the miners keep the bitcoin blockchain updated, and in turn, are compensated with new blocks of bitcoin.
However, critics have complained that bitcoin mining consumes high levels of electricity, which poses issues for both companies and governments looking to curb their own carbon footprints.