Editor's note: This column has been updated to disclose the writer's advocacy of blockchain technology--the underpinning of all crytocurrencies--and a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau warning about these investments.
Recently, over 30 large corporations such as Microsoft, Intel, ING and JP Morgan Chase formed the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA.) These corporations are building technology and decentralized applications on the Ethereum blockchain.
Ethereum, for anyone that doesn't know, is a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, but also so much more as it supports open source code and smart contracts on its blockchain. This means that the possibilities are almost limitless, since decentralized applications can be built and deployed on Ethereum (and many already are.) It should be noted here that I am an advocate of blockchain technology.
In a public display of approval of this move, the price of Ether (the name for Ethereum coins that are traded) more than doubled since mid-March 2017 when the EEA was announced. Two entrepreneurs, Dan Fleyshman and Branden Hampton, predicted the jump right before it happened.
Editor's note: Bitcoin and digital currencies, as with any investment, may involve the risk of loss. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has warned that virtual currencies, including Bitcoin, carry "significant risk" to consumers.
The most interesting part about Ehtereum for me personally, is that I think entrepreneurs are the ones that will help make it big. With all the possibilities on the coding end we will start to see more and more software applications being setup and deployed on Ethereum.
Most people don't realize this, but just last year The DAO crowdfunded 11.5 million Ether ($150 million at the time--over $400 million today) which was the largest amount in history of crowd funding online. However, before everyone could fully celebrate, hackers got their hands on 1/3 of the currency before anyone was able to stop them. They were eventually stopped through a complicated forking process.
But the silver lining is the fact that the largest crowd funded campaign in the history of the world was done on the Ethereum platform. This is a major sign to me that entrepeneurs will continue to do incredible things with this platform. And I believe this is just the beginning.
I reached out to Elio-David Di Lorio, whose brother founded Ethereum, and he said, "My brother Anthony is a founder of Ethereum so I have been around it since conception. In short, the smart contract system/platform (Blockchain 2.0) has enabled the deployment of Blockchain 3.0 - Dapps/appcoins/tokens. There were obviously some initial challenges around governance (to be expected) as well as the test of the immutability/consensus principles with the whole DAO situation. Ethereum seems to have stabilized and appears to be capable of supporting the rapid deployment of user-facing dapps and in turn large-scale adoption of blockchain-based technologies by the masses."
Canadian Entrepreneur Kyle McGuffin said, "It's going to take off. Timing is everything and 2017 is Ethereums time!"
With these giant companies and successful entrepreneurs backing Ethereum, and only a handful of detractors, I will be a very interested observer to see what transpires for Ethereum in 2017 and beyond and how entrepreneurs continue to find ways to utilize the platform.
Speaking of timing, there is an interesting correlation to the timing of Bitcoins first big jump in 2013 and Ethereum's first big jump in 2017, both in March of the year, and both on the back of U.S. presidential elections. Bitcoin in 2013 went on to rally all the way up to $1,000 a coin, which it is still over as of the time of posting.