On the technical and dApp side of things, Ethereum is having a breakout year in 2020. But even with all the fundamental advances at hand, it wasn’t long ago that uncertainty was acutely reigning in the markets.
Indeed, back during the March 12th “Black Thursday” global stark market crash, the ether (ETH) price tanked nearly 50% on the day as selloffs hit all risk-on assets. In the aftermath, it seemed for a time that things would be ugly for ETH no matter what was happening with Ethereum.
The ensuing slump notched ETH as one of the mainstream market’s worst-performing assets between mid-February and the end of March, behind only crude oil at the time.
S&P 500 is down 25% since the peak but what about all the other indices, sectors and commodities? Gold is the only best performing asset with a return of 0.3% since February. Ethereum is nearly the worst-performing. Only beat by oil. Bitcoin is also among the worst-performers pic.twitter.com/gvskZAtncZ
— Larry Cermak (@lawmaster) March 30, 2020
Yet fast forward a few months, and things couldn’t look more different for ETH.
WSJ Highlights ETH’s Recent Run
If there’s a silver lining to Black Thursday for Ethereum, it’s that the market crash caused an explosion of activity around decentralized exchanges and stablecoins, and this activity has only continued to grow ever since.
In fact, this surge fed into the other major rising trends Ethereum has going on right now, namely DeFi, yield farming, governance tokens, DAOs, NFTs, and so forth. With all of these sectors starting to heat up, buy pressure around ETH has also picked up.
For example, the Wall Street Journal recently published a graphic called “Crypto Rally,” which showed ether (ETH) significantly outperforming bitcoin (BTC) and traditional assets like gold, the Nasdaq Composite, and the S&P500 year-to-date (YTD).
Crypto is in the WSJ today. That chart…👀 pic.twitter.com/EH35h73Lyw
— eric.eth (@econoar) August 3, 2020
Yet even this newer graphic is now outdated thanks to even more recent buy pressure around ETH. While the WSJ pegged ETH’s YTD climb as ~160%, that figure is now closer to 200% according to data from the crypto analytics site Messari.
In the very least, this growth in Ethereum’s market cap suggests that optimism is growing in the cryptoeconomy around what the smart contract platform can already do in the here and now and around what the platform will be able to do in the future.
Leading the Next Bull Run?
It’s been two-and-a-half years since the last cryptoeconomy bull run ended. But if you recall, it was Ethereum-powered initial coin offerings (ICO) that set off the market frenzy that led to the last bull run. Could it be that Ethereum is leading crypto down a similar path in 2020?
That’s what some folks are saying right now in light of how popular Ethereum’s rising decentralized finance (DeFi) arena has become, in particular the space’s governance-centric projects like MakerDAO, Compound, Aave, Synthetix, UMA, Balancer, yearn.finance, and more.
The recent start of “yield farming” strategies around these DeFi projects has brought a lot of new eyes in, and the dominoes will fall accordingly. Whether a full-blown bull run is in order remains to be seen, but if one does take place, there’s little mystery as to what’s responsible: Ethereum.
But there are downsides to a new bull market, too. Lots of new money generates interest from bad actors, some of whom will look to emptily fork governance projects to create “new” projects for easy money, just like we saw more than a unnecessary ICOs back in 2017.
The good news is that there’s better education infrastructure in the crypto space now, so it should be easier this go around to identify and blockade malicious projects.
The question is, if things do continue to get bullish in the weeks ahead, how high can ETH top out on this run? Ether’s previous all-time high was over $1,430 — can the cryptocurrency best that mark in the foreseeable future?
No one knows for sure for now, but the prospect of it is certainly non-trivial.