Stick, twist or fold? This was the question put to a panel of 35 academics and market analysts with regards to ethereum – a cryptocurrency that has risen 20-fold over the last year to a new record price high on Wednesday above $4,360.
When asked whether now is the best time to buy, sell or hold, the majority of the panellists responded that despite the huge profits it remains a good buying opportunity.
The average prediction from put ethereum’s price by the end of the year at $4,512 – just $200 more than the peak it reached this week – and $19,842 by 2025.
This end-of-year prediction is an increase of 233 per cent from a similar report from the same panellists in December 2020.
One of the most bullish predictions for 2021 came from Dr Paul Ennis, an assistant professor at University College Dublin whose research focuses on cryptocurrency. Dr Ennis noted that ethereum is currently “highly undervalued” and believes it will be worth $10,000 by the end of the year.
Ethereum, the world’s second most valuable cryptocurrency behind bitcoin, has outperformed its more famous rival in recent weeks.
A succession of all-time highs throughout April and May has seen it double in price over the last month while bitcoin continues to trade at roughly the same level for the last three months
Bitcoin still remains way up from this time last year, having risen from below $10,000 to its current price of around $57,000, with a huge surge in interest from institutional investors helping to fuel the market rally.
Billions of dollars have been ploughed into bitcoin from the likes of electric car maker Tesla and business analytics firm MicroStrategy in 2021, though other cryptocurrencies are yet to receive the same attention.
When asked whether they expected institutional investors to adopt ethereum in the same way as bitcoin, more than three quarters of respondents said they did.
Those expecting significant investment cited ethereum’s technological advantages over bitcoin, in particular the way it is able to power a new wave of decentralised finance (DeFi) applications.
“As decentralised finance keeps growing, with smart contracts being more widely developed and adopted, the demand for ETH will increase,” said Jeremy Cheah, an associate professor at Nottingham Trent University who was among those predicting future price gains.
Dr Iwa Salami, a senior lecturer at the University of East London, added: “Decentralised finance, which is so far building an alternative financial system that is more accessible and democratised, is largely built through decentralised applications on the ethereum network. These developments indicate the future of finance and are very promising, and well-balanced regulation would facilitate the credibility of this growing industry.”