CryptoWatch: Ethereum could hit $2,500 by year-end, consulting firm says

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Digital currencies traded higher Friday morning in New York, looking to erase losses from earlier in the week.

The No. 1 virtual currency, bitcoin BTCUSD, -1.18% traded back above $9,000 as it looks to consolidate above critical support between $8,500 and $9,000. The price of a single bitcoin was last at $9,210.50, up 1.1%, since Thursday’s levels at 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Kraken.

Read: Have bitcoin investors become irrationally bullish (again)?

Ether set for 2018 rally?

DeVere Group, a financial consulting firm, said the price of the second largest digital currency, ether ETHUSD, +0.20%  could be in for a record-setting year, predicting the price could rise fourfold.

“The price of Ethereum is predicted to increase significantly this year, and could hit $2,500 by the end of 2018 with a further increase by 2019 and 2020,” wrote Nigel Green, founder and CEO of deVere Group, in an email to MarketWatch.

Ether was up 4.1% at $674.31.

“This general upswing will be fueled by three mains drivers. First, more and more platforms are using Ethereum as a means of trading. Second, the increased use of smart contracts by Ethereum. And third, the decentralization of cloud computing.”

Green also said regulation in the cryptocurrency sector is inevitable, which will lead to greater investor protection and long-term confidence in the market.

Ether coins, which are underpinned by the Ethereum network, have become the digital currency of choice for new token issuers because of its efficiency and flexibility—the average processing time for transactions on Ethereum is around 14 seconds, compared with Bitcoin’s, which can be up to 10 minutes.

The current market value of ether is $67.4 billion.

What are altcoins and futures doing?

Altcoins were in the green Friday. Bitcoin Cash BCHUSD, -0.92%  added 1.9% to $1,388.50, Litecoin LTCUSD, -2.61% is unchanged at $150.89 and Ripple XRPUSD, -2.49% traded at 85 cents, up 1%.

Bitcoin futures finished the week on a winning note. The Cboe’s May contract XBTK8, -1.21%  finished up 0.6% at $9,150 and the CME Group Inc. April contract BTCK8, +0.79% which settled today, closed at $9,231, up 4.2% on the day.

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