The price of ether classic surged to an all-time high this week, surpassing previous peaks and largely surprising traders.
The cryptocurrency that powers the alternative ethereum software platform ethereum classic reached a fresh high of $4.11 at 12:00 UTC yesterday, according to data from CoinMarketCap. At this price, the digital asset was more than 16% above its previous highest value, set in 2016.
The cryptocurrency has retreated somewhat so far today to $4.02, but was still well above previous marks.
Created last July by a hard fork of the ethereum platform, ethereum classic is a continuation of the blockchain abandoned by that developer team. It has since attracted new developer and miner interest, and the resulting community later outlined a roadmap aimed at differentiating its software.
Currently, ethereum classic is the sixth largest blockchain by market capitalization.
As for what drove the cryptocurrency’s recent gains, analysts seemed short of explanation, given the lack of development around the project of late.
Yet, ether classic may have been buoyed as traders anticipating a boost in prices ahead of the launch of a possible institutional investment vehicle focused on the cryptocurrency, according to Tim Enneking, chairman of Crypto Asset Management.
He highlighted progress on an offering from Digital Currency Group (DCG) subsidiary Grayscale Investments – the Ethereum (ETC) Investment Trust announced in January – that would aim to give institutional investors exposure to the new asset as a possible cause.
Jacob Eliosoff, an algorithmic trader, mirrored this assessment, stating that buying was likely in expectation of a "bump" when the trust materializes.
Other observers chocked up the rise to the illiquidity that has come to define the smaller cryptocurrency markets, stating that it could have been brought about by the whims of a few large traders.
Still while the answer may be unknown, adding weight to the rally is that ether classic rose to this new record amid robust volume, as 24-hour volume reached $46.7m, CoinMarketCap figures show.
Grayscale Investments declined to comment when reached.
Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which owns Grayscale Investments.
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