For ether, the cryptocurrency that powers the ethereum network, 2016 was defined in part by the creation and subsequent collapse of The DAO, the blockchain-based investment vehicle that raised more than $150 million at then-current prices.
Yet as 2017 comes to a close, the cryptocurrency is closing the books on a banner year for its value, having surged from less than $10 one year ago to more than $700 as of press time. Buoyed by the overall growth of the cryptocurrency market.
In this article, we look at some of the major market moments seen in the past 12 months, culminating with the cryptocurrency's temporary push above $800.
Ether was in a rough spot as 2016 came to a close, dropping to a 7-month low at the beginning of December. That state of affairs continued as the days progressed, though the cryptocurrency's price was above $8 at the start of 2017.
Yet as the chart above shows, the price of ether would slowly but surely, passing above $10 during the first week of January. That trend largely continued, advancing above that level once again two weeks later – a move that represented the last time the global market for ether below that figure.
The watershed moment in that period came in early March, when the price of ether shot above $20. Indeed, that month saw budding interest from institutional investors in the market as well as the announcement that regulators in New York had approved U.S.-based startup Coinbase to begin trading ether in the state.
By the time March came to a close, the price of ether was trading above $50, according to market data.
Up and down we go
By the latter half April, the price of ether was still trending above $40, leading some market observers to speculate that a floor was beginning to take shape.
Come May 1, the price of ether would strike a new all-time high at $80, setting the stage for continued action over the following month beneath the $100 mark. A move to that level was predicted by some analysts at the time, though others suggested that it might not happen overnight.
That bearish take was upended just days later when ether's price surpassed $100 for the first time. Ultimately, by the time June rolled around, the market was up roughly 3,000% since the start of the year, having ended the prior month above $200. The market was such that some observers began predicting the so-called "flippening," during which ethereum's market capitalization would surpass that of bitcoin.
Even still, the weeks to come would see significant declines in overall cryptocurrency prices. On June 21, a stunning flash crash on Coinbase's GDAX exchange saw the price shoot down to $13. That move came as the ethereum network saw record high transaction activity a day prior.
Despite continued volatility in June, ether prices were back above $300 by months' end. But within weeks the price had lost that support, and by the middle of July ether had fallen below $190 amid wider market declines.
If July represented a reversal of fortunes for ethereum, August saw markets return to a period of growth.
Yet by the time September came, prices seemed to struggle to advance past those earlier gains. As CoinDesk's Omkar Godbole wrote at the time, early September seemed to represent a make-or-break moment at which the market could keep climbing – or succumb to some of the weaknesses suggested in the charts. A week later, ether was back below $250.
That malaise persisted until the $300 level was broken once more at the end of that month. And though prices dipped in the wake of South Korea's ban on initial coin offerings (ICOs), they shrugged off the pressure once more to push above $300 once again.
October saw some jitters around a planned hard fork of the ethereum network, but ultimately the price was largely unaffected by the technical considerations at hand.
It was November, by comparison, that saw ether's price undertake a veritable surge, passing $440 by Nov. 24 and $500 just days later. And by the middle of December, ethereum was trading above $700, ultimately pushing to its high above $800 on Dec. 19.
As shown by CoinDesk's ether price data, the cryptocurrency's value has fallen since then, and at time of writing is still above $700. Like other cryptocurrencies, ether was caught up in the 30% decline on Dec. 22, which saw the cryptocurrency market capitalization fall by billions over the course of that day.
Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Coinbase.
Ethereum and dollars image via Shutterstock