Bitcoin, the world’s most popular virtual currency with a market capitalisation of $8.8bn, has exploded in value since it launched in 2008.
Now, the currency is valued at more than $20bn, a rise of almost 80 per cent since its peak in 2013.
In comparison, ether is worth about $300.
This year, the value of ether is expected to reach $4.5bn, which would make it the second-most valuable cryptocurrency after bitcoin.
That’s up from about $1bn last year.
Bitcoin and ether are not directly comparable.
Ether, a virtual currency used to buy goods and services, is also used to fund online gambling, which has exploded over the last two years.
In 2017, the number of online poker sites jumped from 1,000 to more than 100,000.
But despite this surge in popularity, the bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have not gained as much traction as ether, which is based on an open source protocol.
“There’s no way to predict exactly how Ethereum will perform in the long term,” said Chris Burniske, an analyst at Capital IQ.
“It’s been a wild ride.
But there’s a clear upside potential for the next few years.”
But there are still major risks to the sector.
One is the fact that it’s very risky to trade it.
The value of bitcoin has soared in recent months as its price has surged by $100 a coin, according to CoinDesk, an online market research website.
That has led to a spike in the price of ether.
In a recent trading session, ether was trading at about $3.50 a coin.
That puts it at about 20 per cent above the $2.80 that bitcoin was trading in April.
In an interview with the BBC, Mr Burniskel said he believes that ether is now at risk of overheating, which could lead to a bubble.
That could happen within a few years, he said.
“The bitcoin market has been pretty volatile, and I think we’re going to see a lot more volatility and a lot less volatility,” he said, predicting that the value will return to more normal levels.
“I think we’ll see bitcoin and Ethereum trading in the $5 to $10 range in the coming years.”
Mr Burneske also noted that ether has been a victim of bitcoin’s surge.
“We have been trading on ether in a very risky way for a long time, and we’ve had people trying to exploit that to get a profit,” he told the BBC.
“They’re not necessarily getting it, but they’re still getting the attention of the people who have the ether.”
The Economist reported in November that the ether market is now worth more than 3,000 times the value that bitcoin and a similar amount that ether was worth at the beginning of 2017.
“Ether is more valuable than bitcoin because it is a cryptocurrency, and its value has been growing,” said Paul Singer, the head of the crypto-research firm CryptoCompare.
Ether has also become a popular form of payment in China, where it is widely used as a medium of exchange and transfer.
However, the yuan is the official currency of China, and so ether is not considered to be a legal tender.
That is why it is also not accepted as a form of money in many countries, and some bitcoin users in China are also facing severe restrictions.
“In China, it’s the equivalent of buying petrol with cash,” Mr Singer said.
The Economist also noted the recent collapse in the value from bitcoin that saw it drop from around $1,300 to about $450.
“That makes ether the second largest currency by market cap, after bitcoin,” he added.
“So if the price goes down, ether’s value will go down too.”
Ether is also gaining traction in other markets, including the UK and Canada, which are the only countries where it has yet to gain traction.
“This is a bubble, so you’ve got to have a bubble,” Mr Burniaske said.
Bitcoin’s rise is also helping drive its price to record highs.
The price of bitcoin last week was $3,500, up from $2,400 in August.
But the cryptocurrency is trading at just over $4,500 a coin at the moment.
Ether is trading between $2 and $2 a coin this week, but it is still trading at $2 on CoinMarketCap.com.
It has also jumped from around 2 per cent to more like 6 per cent, according the latest data from CoinMarketcap.com, which shows that ether may have fallen to around $2 in the past few weeks.
“Some people are buying ether for a quick gain, but that’s not necessarily a good idea,” said Peter Todd, head of crypto-trading at Bittrex.
“Even if the market does go down, there’s still a lot of value in ether and a bunch of companies