Ethereum hits a record high -- while bitcoin and Ripple's XRP continue to slide

  • Ethereum broke above $US1,300 and hit a fresh all-time high on Wednesday.
  • The second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation is defying its major rivals, which have slumped during morning trade.
  • Both bitcoin and Ripple’s XRP are significantly lower on the day.

LONDON – Ethereum, the second-biggest cryptocurrency in the markets, broke to a fresh all-time high early Wednesday before pulling back and falling into negative territory.

Just after midnight UK time, Ethereum’s price broke as high as $US1,375, having only surpassed $US1,000 during trade over the weekend. Ethereum has since pulled back, but remains in positive territory for the day, up more than 3.5% as of 1.2o p.m. GMT (8.20 a.m. ET), as the chart below illustrates:

Screen Shot 2018 01 10 at 13.20.55Markets Insider

Ethereum’s recent rally started after a fourth-quarter report on the performance of the currency – which is a decentralized network for people to run contracts on – showed that transaction volumes on its network doubled, according to a blog post, “surpassing 10 transactions per second for days at a time.”

Ethereum’s fall on the day coincides with drops for the two other largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalisation, bitcoin and Ripple’s XRP, both of which have seen falls on Wednesday. At 1.20 p.m. GMT, bitcoin was lower by about 3.3%, trading at $US13,980.

XRP remains more than 10% lower, as the chart below illustrates:

Screen Shot 2018 01 10 at 13.22.16Markets Insider

One possible reason for these falls is the announcement overnight that the Australian Tax Office was establishing a task force to monitor cryptocurrency transactions.

According to our colleagues at Business Insider Australia, the task force “aims to ensure cryptocurrency investors are paying the correct amount of tax” and a “team of specialists across tax law, technology, banking and finance will devise strategies to follow the money on gains made from investment in digital currency.”

“We are consulting with key stakeholders who have expressed an interest in tax issues relating to cryptocurrencies,” a spokesman for the ATO said.

The falls could also be linked to a hangover from the news Monday that, arguably the most popular and important site for cryptocurrency pricing data, had opted to remove South Korean exchanges from its data sources.

That announcement caused a major sell-off at the time, and is most likely still having some impact on the market.

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