Ethereum Up 50% in Last Two Weeks on South Korea, ICO Hype

Ethereum (ETH/USD) has been pushing higher over the past two weeks, with prices crawling back above $300.00 for the first time since June.

ETH/USD Hits One-Month High

The ETH/USD exchange rate approached $315.00 on Wednesday, the highest level in over a month. The price pulled back on Thursday to settle just above $300.00. Prices held relatively steady at the start of Friday trading, giving etherum a market cap of roughly $28.2 billion.

With Thursday’s advance, ethereum has risen for six consecutive days and is up 50% compared to two weeks ago when it traded around $200.00.

The cryptocurrency has forged a new leg higher, with prices well supported north of $280.00. This level prevented the sellers from gaining control of the market on Thursday when the ETH/USD pair entered a mild correction.

South Korean Buyers, ICO Hype Lift Prices

The South Korean won has done most of the bidding lately after lawmakers in the Asian country announced tentative plans to regulate cryptocurrency. According to CNBC, over 60% of ETH purchases are happening in the won currency.

South Korea would become the second Asian country to regulate cryptocurrency. Earlier this year, Japan spearheaded legislation recognizing bitcoin as a legal payment method. The announcement propelled the digital currency market to new record highs.

Ongoing hype surrounding initial coin offerings (ICOs) is also boosting buyer interest. ICOs are similar to crowdsourcing in that they allow startups to raise money by offering funders a stake in the company. ICOs raised $1.2 billion in June and July to surpass early stage venture capital.

In June alone, ICO funding exceeded $550 million. By comparison, angel and early VC funding came in at just under $300 million during the same month.

Bitcoin Stabilizes Near Record High

Ethereum has flown under the radar in recent weeks as infighting broke out in the bitcoin community. The rapid rise and fall of Bitcoin Cash – the newest edition to the cryptocurrency family – has had a minimal impact on the broader market. In fact, bitcoin prices surged to new highs this week as its mining community voted to accept the new Segregated Witness (SegWit) upgrade.

SegWit has been designed to scale up bitcoin’s capacity to boost efficiency and speed on the cryptocurrency network. It was also the point of contention that caused the chain split on Aug. 1.

Bitcoin Cash briefly spiked above $11 billion shortly after the fork, according to, before crashing back down. On Friday, the market was valued at $4.6 billion – roughly $280.00 a coin.

Bitcoin (BTC/USD) has shot up to nearly $57 billion, with token values reaching multiple record highs. The BTC/USD traded within a narrow range Thursday and was last seen hovering just above $3,415.00, according to Bitstamp.

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi

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