Ether (ETH), the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, went above $3,000 Sunday for the first time in history, according to CoinDesk 20, after setting multiple all-time highs last week.
At press time, ether’s changing hands at $3,179, up more than 2.5% in the past 24 hours.
Ether is now up about 300% on a year-to-date basis versus a 95% rise for bitcoin (BTC, +4.1%).
Ether’s impressive gains came as the demand for the second most valued cryptocurrency has soared.
The total market capitalization for decentralization finance (DeFi), recently hit above $100 billion, with some of the most popular DeFi projects being built on the Ethereum blockchain.
There are more than $68 billion worth of value locked in DeFi, per data from DeFi Pulse.
CoinMetrics data shows the number of active addresses recently surged to a new all-time high of 771,000, surpassing the previous record of 739,000 set in November.
The daily transaction count on Ethereum’s blockchain has increased by 22% to 1.376 million this year, per data provided by Glassnode.
Ether’s growth also came as the Ethereum blockchain undergoes the Eth 2.0 upgrade, which will switch the Ethereum blockchain to a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus from the current proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism.
Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin gave a presentation recently on the development roadmap of Ethereum after its merge to PoS including the long-awaited feature, sharding.
Sharding will expand Ethereum’s capacity to process transactions by splitting its database into 64 new mini-blockchains, thus addressing the congestion issues that currently plague the blockchain..
The rise of ether has also benefited tokens associated with several so-called Ethereum killers such as Binance Smart Chain, Solana, and Polkadot.
As CoinDesk reported, FundStrat wrote in a research note Thursday that ether could hit above $10,000 by the end of this year.
“Ethereum’s market cap has risen to ~30% of bitcoin’s over recent weeks,” the note read. “During the last market cycle, ethereum broke this level and [had] as high as 80% of bitcoin’s value.”