While Ethereum has always been a distance second to Bitcoin in terms of its price and volume of trading, it has earned its spot as a cryptocurrency darling—a favorite of those who take interest less in the current value of a coin and more in the technology that backs it.
After starting 2017 valued at $11, Ethereum enjoyed exponential growth over the course of the year that resulted in it achieving a price of over $800 by the end of December—and the new year hasn’t stopped the cryptocurrency from its growth.
While Ethereum has been hit by the market downturn that has sent values of some coins plummeting, it has remained near its 2017 high. It still represents a drop from its 2018 high of $1,432 in reached in January, but the cryptocurrency has mostly weathered the storm.
Thanks to its resilience and the promise that its platform and technology presents, many investors and experts remain optimistic about the potential outcomes for Ethereum going forward.
In a survey of more than one dozen finance experts conducted by International Business Times from Jan. 25-30, a majority of experts said Ethereum would rise in value by the middle of 2018. The average Ethereum price prediction for mid-2018 placed the cryptocurrency’s expected value at about $1,950—about a 115 percent increase.
A number of experts suggested that the cryptocurrency markets will be subject to additional scrutiny in the coming months and only the strongest cryptocurrencies with legitimate uses will likely come out unscathed. Ethereum is one of those coins that is expected to survive—and even thrive—in that environment.
“Along with BTC and ZCash, it’s one of the few blue chip cryptos out there, so people will continue to pile in,” Jeremy Epstein, CEO of Never Stop Marketing said of Ethereum.
He said the prices of cryptocurrencies isn’t the most interesting story but rather the “trend towards decentralization and how they will impact how society operates going forward.” Epstein believes Ethereum could successfully position itself as a valuable player as that trend continues.
Michael Hunte, director of community operations at DFINITY, offered one of the boldest predictions for Ethereum’s position. He said the cryptocurrency will be valued at $4,000 by mid-2018/ “Ethereum has a roadmap that is better defined with clear feature updates,” he said. “They will see better growth.”
A number of experts made note of Ethereum’s advantage when it comes to technology and features. During its rise in 2017, Ethereum benefited from a wave of initial coin offerings (ICOs) used to fundraise for startups and new companies—most of which use Ethereum-based tokens to create their offerings to investors.
While ICOs have come under increased scrutiny in recent months, Ethereum remains well positioned to host those types of legitimate initiatives. “ ICOs on Ethereum will also continue, albeit one has to watch out for signs of increased regulation and/or problems at previous ICOs,” Raphael Rottgen, partner and head of research at Q2Q Capital said.
He also noted another phenomenon like Cryptokitties could generate a lot of attention and activity for Ethereum—a situation that it will, in theory, be better positioned to handle than other cryptocurrencies. He predicted Ethereum could be valued at $3,000 by the summer of 2018.
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Shahar Rabin, CEO of Capitalise , highlighted another strength for Ethereum: it’s smart contracts feature. Smart contracts allow users to borrow Ethereum or pre-schedule payments in the future with no risk that the transactions won’t be completed.
“Being the leader when it comes to enabling contracts over the blockchain, I believe Ethereum will take more dominance over other cryptocurrencies and will grow faster,” Rabin, who predicted Ethereum would hit a price of around $2,000 by mid-2018, said.
While many experts predicted Ethereum and the cryptocurrency market will escape its current dip in value and recover in the coming months, there were dissenting opinions that sprinkled some pessimism on the otherwise optimistic predictions.
Joshua Gordon-Blake, vice president of global partnerships at Pangea Money Transfer , estimated Ethereum will drop to $150 by mid-2018. He pinned that drop primarily on uncertainty in the market driven in large part by looming government regulations that could result in a crack down on cryptocurrencies.
Still, Gordon-Blake suggested that Ethereum was well positioned to survive such challenges. He said real-life, practical use cases the best indicators of future gains for cryptocurrency and for that reason, he favored Ethereum and a number of other coins going forward.
Derin Cag, founder and CEO of Richtopia , expects Ethereum to remain around the $900 mark that it is currently at for the first half of 2018. While that may not represent much promise for short-term investors looking to make a quick profit, he was more confident about the long-term prospects of the cryptocurrency.
Cag said the short-term struggle will be caused by new regulations—both friendly and unfriendly—in addition to “slow technological progress.” He warned, “we could be witnessing the first bubble in human history caused by temporary government repression.”
However, Cag siad he would be bullish on the prospects for Ethereum and other “good cryptocurrencies” come the fourth quarter of 2018.