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Ethereum soars to a record high while bitcoin starts 2018 on a weaker note


Ethereum's ether token started 2018 on a high today as its price shot up to a record-breaking level.

The cryptocurrency's total market capitalisation broke $84bn (£62bn) as its price climbed as high as $914.83, according to Coindesk's aggregate index. At the time of writing, it was up 12.01 per cent at $866.21.

Naeem Aslam, the chief market analyst at Think Markets, said ethereum was the cryptocurrency making the most noise at the start of the year.

Read more: Ethereum's hard fork explained: Here's what happened and why

Nearly $3bn worth of ethereum, the third largest cryptocurrency by market cap, was traded between exchanges in just 24 hours, he said.

Ripple's digital currency XRP was also up around four per cent this morning at $2.34. Ripple shot up last week to become the second most valuable cryptocurrency after bitcoin, with its market cap reaching above $100bn over the weekend.

Ripple allows financial institutions to transfer money around the world more easily by using the blockchain.

"No doubt that Ripple was the best performing cryptocurrency last week, but today all the momentum is behind ethererum. The total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies has surged to astonishing $620bn," Aslam said.

It was another story for bitcoin, though.

"In 2018, the cryptocurrency king, bitcoin, began on a much weaker start," Aslam said.

After climbing above $14,000 on the last day of 2017, bitcoin was trading around $13,500 at the start of the new year. At the time of writing, bitcoin's price was up 1.32 per cent at $13,589.25.

Bitcoin nearly reached a price of $20,000 in December as the cryptocurrency's popularity surged with the launch of new futures contracts on major US exchanges.

Read more: Which 2017 month delivered the best bitcoin returns?

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