Overshadowed by the turbulent performance of Ripple, ethereum’s ETH token peaked at £1,048.39 ($1,417.38) just after 5am on Wednesday.

The surprise rally came off the back of ethereum co-founder Steven Nerayoff predicting increased exposure and usage could triple the platform’s value in 2018.

The crypto entrepreneur credited ethereum’s rise to wider adoption and even foresaw a potential “flippening” in which ethereum could overtake bitcoin.

Mr Nerayoff said: “What you’re seeing with ethereum is exponential increase in the number of projects — there are billions of dollars being poured into the ecosystem right now — maybe 10 times more projects this year than last year, which could easily lead to a doubling, probably a tripling in price by the end of the year.” 

Ethereum prices have already soared more than 89 percent since the start of January, topping off the more than 8,000 percent growth it witnessed through 2017.

CoinMarketCap data suggests that the platform is now the second most valuable digital asset on the market with a market capitalisation of more than £96billion ($130billion) – second only to bitcoin’s £181billion ($245billion) as of 6.12pm on Wednesday.

Ethereum is now attracting strong corporate interest, and Mr Nerayoff said ethereum’s open-source implementation has made it an attractive option to businesses.

He added: “People are actually using it for currency, as well.

“Lower transactional costs are increasing usage of the entire network, and that’s increasing the network effects of it. There are more users, more projects being built on there and more programmers.”

The growing interest and exposition could in turn serve to grow the entire crypto space – bitcoin and Ripple included.

Thomas Glucksmann, head of marketing and APAC business development at Gatecoin, agreed that ethereum’s real world use made it a viable option for investors.

He said: “Ether’s price rally is a testament to the growing popularity of ethereum as a platform for decentralised applications. 

“Over the last year and a half, we’ve seen that the majority of tokens issued during ICOs and traded on exchanges, have been coded to run on the ethereum network.”

But some crypto experts have rung the bell about the swelling crypto space, warning against a never-ending influx of altcoins and ethereum derivatives.

Charles Hoskinson, of blockchain research firm IOHK, warned that the oversaturated market is bound to crash and burn in the future.

He said: “What’s going to occur is a lot of these ventures that don’t have strong fundamentals, don’t have good tech, or just unrealistic projects, they will eventually run into some major wall they can’t quite overcome. 

“They will fracture up and you will see a lot of them are certain to fail.”

Since launching in July 2017, ethereum has grown more than 56,000 percent to its current prices on January 10, 2018.

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