All Time High for Ethereum and Ripple as they Battle for #2 in Cryptocurrency Market Cap

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The Ethereum (ETH) and Ripple (XRP) prices have each raced to an all time high as the two cryptocurrency heavyweights vie for the silver podium in the cryptocurrency market cap rankings.

Ethereum and Ripple Vie for Second Place in the Market Cap Rankings

Long thought to be the cryptocurrency with the best chance to supplant bitcoin as the cryptoasset king, Ethereum boasted the second largest market cap for the vast majority of 2017 (Ripple briefly achieved that mark in May, while bitcoin cash held it for a fleeting moment in November).

ethereum price
Legend: Ethereum (Purple), Ripple (Blue), Bitcoin Cash (Green) | Source: CoinMarketCap

However, in December the Ripple price entered a meteoric ascent that only seemed to intensify as time passed, and on Dec. 29 Ripple unseated Ethereum as the second most valuable cryptocurrency.

Ethereum reclaimed that position for a brief period on Jan. 2, but Ripple quickly resumed its rally and moved back into second before the end of the day.

Ethereum, Ripple Prices Race to All-Time Highs as Competition Intensifies

At this point, the competition really began to heat up as both cryptocurrencies set multiple all-time highs during mid-week trading.

On Thursday, the Ripple price reached as high as $3.53 on Bittrex, raising its circulating market cap to $148.9 billion and making Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen the eighth-richest person in the world — at least on paper.

ripple price
Source: TradingView

Ripple’s dramatic rally accompanied several partnership announcements involving banks and credit card issuers in South Korea and Japan.

Nevertheless, these blockchain trials do not involve the XRP currency itself, making the pace of the rally somewhat inexplicable, although its continuation is likely the product of the mainstream coverage it has received in the financial press — particularly at a time when the bitcoin price has been more or less stagnant

The Ethereum price, meanwhile, touched the historic $1,000 checkpoint on Coinbase, briefly lifting its market cap to a new all-time high of $101.1 billion, making it just the third cryptocurrency to achieve a $100 billion market cap.

ethereum price
Source: TradingView

Ethereum’s move is likely tied to the recent announcement that Casper, a consensus algorithm that will enable the network to transition to proof-of-stake (PoS), had entered alpha testing.

By the time of writing, both Ripple and Ethereum had ebbed significantly from their high-water marks, reducing their market caps to $124.3 billion and $99.4 billion, respectively, according to the BlockExplorer Market Cap Index.

The jostle for cryptocurrency’s silver podium, however, remains as heated as ever.

Featured Image from Pexels

This article was written with contributions from Isaac Rockett.

Ethereum Launches Casper Testnet, Paving the Way for Proof-of-Stake

Ethereum developers have launched an alpha test network (testnet) for Casper, paving the way for the cryptocurrency to eventually transition to a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus algorithm.

Like bitcoin, ethereum currently operates on a proof-of-work (PoW) consensus algorithm, meaning that the network is secured and new currency units are issued through “mining,” whereby participants solve cryptographic puzzles to validate transactions and create new blocks.

However, PoW has attracted criticism over the years, both for its tendency to centralize mining hardware into a few pools and for the amount of electricity it consumes.

Ethereum to implement Proof-of-Stake

Ethereum aims to address these problems by transitioning to Casper, a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus algorithm. Under Casper, participants can become validators by locking up or “staking” ether. Validators will take turns proposing and voting on blocks, and both the weight of their votes and the size of their rewards will hinge on the size of their stakes.

According to developers, moving to Casper will greatly reduce the amount of electricity “wasted” through PoW mining. In addition to limiting its environmental impact, PoS will allow ethereum to dramatically reduce its rate of currency inflation since validators will have much lower overhead and will thus require smaller rewards to incentivize them to continue to serve as validators.

Moreover, PoS will also reduce the incentive that validators have to centralize their influence. With decreased centralization comes increased security and, importantly, resistance to dreaded 51 percent attacks.

Ethereum is not the first project to attempt to integrate a PoS consensus algorithm. However, most previous PoS implementations have been criticized because, in the event of a blockchain split, validators are incentivized to try to make blocks on top of every chain rather than resolving the consensus back to a single blockchain.

casper
Source: Ethereum/Github

Casper aims to solve this problem by imposing economic penalties on malicious validators that violate the network’s rules. This ensures that validators are properly incentivized to achieve consensus on a single blockchain in the event of a network split.

Following three years of development, Casper has officially entered alpha testing, and the first full-featured testnet has launched. The software must still traverse several release checkpoints before it is ready to launch on the main network, but this alpha release nevertheless marks an important step toward its eventual activation on the main ethereum network.

Casper
Source: Vitalik Buterin/Twitter

Users can join the testnet by following the instructions in this guide, and once online they can send transactions and become validators, just as they would on a normal network, although the network’s performance is not indicative of how production clients will operate once the project receives an official release.

Cryptocurrency Trading Overview for 11/27/2017: Bitcoin Breaks $10,000 USD

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According to coinmarketcap the current cryptocurrency market cap sits at around $300 billion, 500 million, with bitcoin making up 53.5% of the total market cap. Overnight Bitcoin crossed the $10k USD barrier.

Below is a summary of the top three currencies on coinmarketcap at time of writing

Bitcoin

Bitcoin, while still in the green, seems to have slowed down its rapid price increase that began early last saturday, lagging behind that price jump was an increase in trading volume that seems to have also subsided this morning, with the price hovering around $9640, with highs of $9823 and lows of $9460. At time of writing the price was $9675.73, with a market cap of $160 billion and trading volume staying stable at around $6 billion all day.

 

High Low
Price $9823.43 $9461.97
Market Cap $164 104 327 522 $158 054 166 175

 

Ethereum

Ethereum is in the green today, 3% against the US dollar and 0.35% against bitcoin. Market cap is at $45 billion and 4 million BTC, with highs of $493.40 and 0.0510 BTC, lows of $468.49 and 0.489 BTC. With the price sitting at $480.10 and 0.04937 BTC at time of writing, with volume sitting around $1.4 billion and 147 thousand BTC. Ethereum’s charts are looking a bit more volatile than the bitcoin chart for the same time frame today.

 

High Low
Price $496.40 | 0.05105570 BTC $468.49 | 0.0497 BTC
Market Cap $49 357 212 129 $44 966 409 692

 

Bitcoin Cash

Bitcoin Cash is 5.9% in the red today against the US dollar and 6.59 in the red against bitcoin, with a market cap of $27.6 billion and 2.8 million BTC. Around 09:30 today it dropped to $1607 and 0.170 BTC, recovering a bit to $1681 and 0.173 BTC, then falling further again. At time of writing the price was at $1613.42 and 0.1658 BTC with a trade volume of $1.5 billion and 161 thousand BTC. The chart is somewhat smooth with a downwards gradient.

 

High Low
Price $1717.61 | 0.178 BTC $1895.66 | 0.164495 BTC
Market Cap $28 889 799 688 $26 848 515 322