Having crossed the psychologically significant $1,000 (USD) barrier just days ago, the price of Ether – the native cryptocurrency of Ethereum (ETH) – has continued to grow from strength to strength. Upon the time of writing, the unit price of Ether resides at $1,222, having enjoyed an increase of 9.8% over the past nine hours – according to historical data.

Such a rally has seen Ethereum reclaim second position among all cryptocurrencies in terms of market cap, having recently been surpassed by Ripple (XRP). South Korea has prompted this latest ascent, led by its giant crypto exchanges in Bithumb, Korbit, and Coinone. Illustrating such insatiable demand, the South Korean global price of Ether climbed over $1,800 during the day’s trading, representing a staggering $534 (+29.6%) premium relative to its then-global average.

The rise is partly attributed to the imminent release of the much anticipated Casper update, which has seen significant progress via its testing on the Ethereum testnet. Once live, the Ethereum blockchain network will have transformed Ether into a virtual coin based on proof-of-stake (PoS), and no longer on the proof-of-work (PoW) protocol.

The implementation of Casper will see the Ethereum network welcome much-needed scalability enhancements, as well as seeing improvements to censorship, costs, and environmental impact.

What is even more impressive, is that this price surge comes despite RSK Labs launching the beta-version of their Bitcoin smart contracts platform this past Friday; looming as a threat to Ethereum’s longevity.

The crypto space is never short of surprises; today’s instalment came via news of another coin’s price behaviour. Yes, the market cap of Dogecoin (DOGE) today soared passed $2 billion for the first time. This came after cracking the $1 billion barrier just days ago, leaving many scratching their heads given the parody coin openly acknowledges that its creation in 2013 served as nothing more than a joke to supplement an internet meme. Even its founder recently shared that the altcoin “hasn’t released a software update in over 2 years.”

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