Ethereum may drive blockchain to be as broadly adopted as the Internet, fintech CEO says
- Ethereum could be a major driving force for blockchain and cryptocurrency, says Circle CEO and co-founder Jeremy Allaire.
- “One of the things that really catalyzed the [cryptocurrency] market last year was actually that ethereum, in particular, kind of got to a place where you could build apps on top of it,” he said.
Blockchain and cryptocurrency may one day be “as broadly adopted as the internet is today,” Jeremy Allaire, CEO and co-founder of fintech company Circle, told CNBC.
“It’s a really fertile space in terms of the fundamental, technical and infrastructure,” Allaire said on “Fast Money” Wednesday.
One major driver for this possible occurrence: ethereum. “Right now ethereum has an enormous amount of developer activity,” Allaire said.
“One of the things that really catalyzed the [cryptocurrency] market last year was actually that ethereum, in particular, kind of got to a place where you could build apps on top of it,” he said. “You could issue new tokens on top of it; you could create new kinds of financial contracts, using the smart contracts technology.”
Ethereum is the name of the company that created the digital token ether. The company created a platform for applications built on blockchain, the same technology that underpins bitcoin. Ether was first launched as a fundraising effort to develop the platform.
As a result, Allaire concluded, ICOs, or initial coin offerings — a crowdfunding way to raise funds for cryptocurrency ventures — have dramatically increased. For all of 2017, ICOs raised $3.8 billion. But in only six months this year, companies have raised more than three times that amount, or $12.4 billion in ICOs, according to CoinSchedule.
“It also catalyzed a lot of competing infrastructures to ethereum,” Allaire said, pointing out that there are a lot of new blockchain platforms on the market right now. Some to consider are EOS, NEO and Cardano, he said.
Meanwhile, crypto traders rejoiced this week as bitcoin, the largest digital coin by market cap, moved above $7,000 Tuesday, after falling below $6,000 last month. While the increase is significant, it’s still far below the December 2017 highs of around $19,500. But bitcoin bulls say the coin is not dead yet.
“When the chair of the Fed says negative thing about bitcoin, and Howard Marks says negative things about bitcoin, and Ken Griffin says negative things about bitcoin, and bitcoin doesn’t move, I think that’s a really bullish sign,” Barry Silbert, founder and CEO of financial firm Digital Currency Group, said on “Fast Money” Wednesday.
On Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. ET, bitcoin was priced just over $7,300, where it had held steady for more than 24 hours.
Silbert predicts 2019 will be a good year for both blockchain and cryptocurrencies, with increased accessibility and better understanding of products.
“I’m all about the infrastructure that’s required to create the on-ramps and the off-ramps for Wall Street to get involved in this asset class,” Silbert said.
— CNBC’s Kate Rooney contributed to this report.
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