Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency, soared to a record above $4,400 Friday on bullish sentiment surrounding an upgrade to the Ethereum network and rival Bitcoin’s recent rally to a high of its own.
The digital asset gained as much as 3.5% to $4,403.93, topping the previous record of $4,379.62 reached in May. Other smaller tokens including Binance Coin and Solana rallied. Ether is now worth about $520 billion, according to data from CoinGecko.com.
Ether’s latest milestone comes as the digital token has far outperformed Bitcoin throughout this year with a sixfold increase amid surging retail and institutional investor interest in the space. Bitcoin has risen some 40% this month to reach a record of almost $67,000 following the debut of the first Bitcoin-linked exchange-traded fund in the U.S.
Ether underpins the affiliated Ethereum Network, the dominant blockchain used for thousands of decentralized applications. The system got a further boost this week after a successful upgrade designed to make it faster and more energy-efficient.
“On-chain activity metrics for Ethereum appear to have found support and are reaching multi-month highs,” said Sean Farrell and Will McEvoy, digital asset strategists with Fundstrat in a report Thursday. Measures including transaction rate, new addresses and active addresses have shown strong growth this month after suffering declines in May, the strategists said.