Amid growing hype over the metaverse and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), the price of Ethereum (ETH) — the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap — crossed the US$4,600 mark to hit a new all-time high of $4,634 this morning Asia time, according to CoinGecko data.

Other altcoins climbed to new peaks. The price of Solana (SOL), the native cryptocurrency of the high-performance proof-of-stake Solana blockchain, surged to new all-time highs of just under US$230, according to CoinGecko data.

DOT, the native cryptocurrency of the Polkadot blockchain network, crossed the US$50 mark for the first time on Nov. 1 and marked a new all-time high of US$53.04 on Nov. 2, according to CoinGecko data. DOT’s new ATH comes with Polkadot’s long-awaited parachain auctions expected to take place this month.

Crypto market experts told Forkast.News the fourth quarter is typically a period of good price appreciation for the crypto market and altcoins are rallying following Bitcoin’s surge last month. The total cryptocurrency market cap currently stands at US$2.8 trillion, according to CoinGecko data. 

“We find ourselves in Q4, which provides a kind of bullish context,” Ben Caselin, head of research and strategy at cryptocurrency exchange AAX, told Forkast.News in an interview. “What we saw with Squid Game Token, which was a classic rug pull, will drive people to focus more on quality and longevity — projects that are going to make it and they’re not going to scam you.”

Ethereum, which hosts the majority of DeFi protocols, stablecoins and NFTs, has seen its market cap increase to US$538 billion — a fivefold increase since the start of this year — and there is over US$170 billion of total value locked (TVL) in DeFi protocols on Ethereum, according to DeFi Llama. Ethereum is currently trading at US$4,562 as of publishing time, according to CoinGecko data.

“The 2021 trading corridor in which prices have found themselves for the majority of the year has been broken to the upside for only the second time. Expect to see a retest of $4,500, before we continue to chart higher,” said cryptocurrency platform OSL in its OSL Trader View update today.  “Against $BTC, $ETH’s funding rates are vastly healthier. $ETH is in the sixth straight week of gains, and now breaking through the upper portion of $ETH’s logarithmic growth curves. The bulls anticipate $ETH to shoot up as the price went up quickly the last three times we visited this area. $ETH’s middle of the logarithmic channel in place since March 2020 also intersects with the top of this segment, suggesting $ETH may rally to $5,800 (by 20%) over the next 14 days?”

According to a survey of 50 finance and crypto experts surveyed for Finder’s most recent Ethereum Price Predictions Report, the price of Ethereum is expected to be at US$5,114 by the end of this year.

Institutions are also increasingly looking to Ethereum. Ethereum investment products last week saw inflows of US$17 million last week after three consecutive weeks of outflows, according to digital asset manager CoinShares. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) this week announced that it was going to launch Micro Ether futures on Dec. 6, pending regulatory review.

Ethereum’s surge also follows its successful Altair Beacon Chain upgrade — the first mainnet upgrade to the Beacon Chain — on Oct. 27. Ethereum’s Beacon Chain upgrade, implemented in December 2020, marked the beginning of the Eth2 rollout and brought staking to the Ethereum ecosystem. “The Merge” — Ethereum mainnet’s merge with the Beacon Chain’s proof-of-stake system — will mark the end of a proof-of-work Ethereum and is scheduled to take place in 2022.

See related article: Vitalik Buterin: Layer 2 is the future of Ethereum scaling

With the rise of decentralized finance (DeFi), GameFi, NFTs and institutions increasingly exploring blockchain, programmable blockchains like Ethereum and Solana that can support such use cases are going to see continued traction, Carney Mak who leads the fintech investment at FXHB Asset Management based in Singapore, told Forkast.News in an interview.

Danny Chong, co-founder of Tranchess, a yield-enhancing digital asset tracker, previously told Forkast.News that Ethereum would likely keep rising to new all-time highs for the foreseeable future.

“From both a market capitalization perspective and the fact that Ethereum has a lot of ongoing developments and future upgrades, ETH will continue to appreciate steadily in long-term value,” Chong said. “Its position as the largest programmable blockchain sector with increasing institutional acceptance and adoption will continue to bolster this long-term trend.”

See related article: What will Ethereum prices be as 2021 ends?