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Bitcoin isn't the only cryptocurrency that's trading at all-time highs.

Lost a bit in the mainstream spotlight has been ether, the cryptographic token that powers of the ethereum blockchain. But, when compared to bitcoin's nearly 50% surge in value since the start of the year, ethereum's 900% climb is worth examining in context.

From roughly $8 on 1st January to an all-time high of $82 this week, ether has come a long way since its began trading in 2015.

Here are 5 things newcomers may benefit from knowing about the market.

1) It's not an overnight success

Since early 2016, ether has been the second-largest market cap of any cryptocurrency, managing to outshine more tenured alternative asset protocols such as litecoin and ripple, according to CoinMarketCap data.

This sharp increase has taken place as the broader cryptocurrency space has attracted significant capital inflows, rising almost $7bn in value in Q1 2017.

During this time frame, the price of ether returned more than 500%.

When examined over a broader time frame, cryptocurrency's price gains have been even more impressive, as ether has appreciated more than 2,800% since it 2015.

2) It's volume has varied wildly

Ether's trading volume has fluctuated quite a bit during its history.

Trading activity for this digital asset was very modest at times, with 24-hour trading volume falling below $100,000 in some cases. At other times, this activity surged, with 24-hour volume nearing $600m in March.

Overall, however, the market has seen a gradual upward trending, with volume picking up notably in March and April.

3) Search interest is nearing highs

What does search interest have to do with price?

As CoinDesk contributor Willy Woo has put forward – quite a bit given that most traders and buyers Google the price first. (Woo has even described a whole strategy around gaining insights from such data).

Ether's search interest has risen sharply in the last few years, although its upward movement coincided with some significant pullbacks, according to Google Trends.

The cryptocurrency's search interest peaked in mid-March, as the term "ethereum" attained its highest point of popularity between 12th and 18th March.

When broken down by geographic region, the search interest for this term has been quite varied, according to additional data from Google Trends.

Switzerland has been the post popular area for these searches over the last five years, with Venezuela coming in a close second, claiming 95% of the search interest.

4) Bitcoin exchanges sell it

Several major exchanges have started offering ether trading to customers over the last few years. Poloniex, the single largest exchange in terms of ETH/BTC volume began offering the currency pair in August 2015.

Kraken, Bitfinex, Coinbase and Gemini followed suit shortly after, with some offering US dollar trading. Other companies provide their clients with over-the-counter (OTC) trading of this cryptocurrency.

Genesis Trading, for example, began offering OTC ether trading in early 2016, and Octagon Strategy started providing this service for its clients in March 2017.

5) Ethereum has its own tokens

Due to the design of the ethereum platform, developers are able to issue their own assets on top of the blockchain network.

The number of token sales for ethereum-based projects has surged over the last year, and is gaining steam. As a result, there's a strong belief interest in these projects could continue to fuel trading interest and demand.

Track the price of ether on CoinDesk's new ethereum price page.

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Genesis Trading, Coinbase and Kraken.

Ethereum visualization via Shutterestock

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