For all the attention that has reserved the bitcoin, it is his ether rival to hit the headlines, with the popularity of its blockchain Ethereum technology that motivates the concerns that have sent the fleeing investors.
Virtual currencies laboriously passed this month after US investment banking giant Goldman Sachs withdrew from his plans to open a bitcoin trading desk, a malicious feeling for the entire industry.
Ether slipped 20% in value, another success from the comments of Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, which fuels cryptocurrency.
At the beginning of this month, the 24-year-old Russian-Canadian programmer told Bloomberg that "the space of the blockchain (Ethereum) is to get to the point where there is a ceiling in sight".
A blockchain is essentially a ledger to record transactions, which is open to all those who use it but extremely secure, and has allowed the rise of cryptocurrency trading.
Billionaire thanks to Ethereum, Buterin has already talked about "scalability", probably the first challenge in the industry.
Blockchain traffic jam
Unlike bitcoin In's blockchain, which carries out transactions involving only cryptocurrency, Ethereum can host several virtual tokens and also enable some digital applications and so-called smart contracts.
Such programs can, for example, automatically activate payments without the use of a third party when the defined conditions are met, such as winning a sports bet.
Ethereum is also home to two-thirds of initial coin offerings (ICOs), essentially a fundraising tool for companies that issue tokens against cryptocurrencies as the issuance of shares on a stock market.
An explosion in the number of ICOs in 2017, two years after the launch of ether, has led to the price of cryptocurrency bump 160 times in value over a 12 month period.
The craze around the ICOs has also caused congestion to the Ethereum network, contributing to the collapse of the prices of ether starting in January.
"The more it is required, the more likely it is to clog the network," said Jerome de Tych ey, president of Asseth, an association that promotes the use of Ethereum.
A clogged Ethereum translates into higher charges for customers who want transaction priority, and average expenses briefly hit a record of $ 5.50 in July according to bitinfocharts.com. Generally, however, taxes fluctuate around a few cents.
In the meantime, delays in a planned review of the scalability of Ethereum have discouraged some investors from using the blockchain, according to de Tychey.
Naeem Aslam, an analyst at the Think Markets dealers, said Buterin "is not doing the job he should do" – that is, making sure that companies "trust the technology and provide them with (what) they have need".
Virtual currency, real dip
The dip in the value of the ether was really dramatic. From the beginning of August, it lost more than half its value.
Returning to May, the decline is 75%, with the total value of virtual currency plunging to around $ 23 billion from $ 82.5 billion.
The huge decline only brought the ether back to just over a year ago, at around $ 220 for a token.
Another factor that weighed on the price of the ether was the success of the ICOs. Companies that have raised funds in the air with ICO must now sell them to cover operating expenses in legal currencies.
According to industry analysts Diar companies that raised funds before the price boom at the end of last year have sold some 20 percent of their holdings in the air since April, weighing on its price.
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