<p><img src="https://static1.businessinsider.com/image/606c2afca7d803001963ee59-2400/2021-02-19T000000Z_1488177917_RC2YVL93EI8S_RTRMADP_3_CRYPTO-CURRENCY-ETHEREUM.JPG" border="0" alt="2021 02 19T000000Z_1488177917_RC2YVL93EI8S_RTRMADP_3_CRYPTO CURRENCY ETHEREUM.JPG" data-mce-source="Dado Ruvic/Reuters"></p><p></p><bi-shortcode id="summary-shortcode" data-type="summary-shortcode" class="mceNonEditable" contenteditable="false">Summary List Placement</bi-shortcode><p>Cryptocurrency <a href="https://markets.businessinsider.com/currencies/eth-usd">ether</a>, native to the Ethereum blockchain, hit a new all-time high above $3,000 on Monday in a standout performance that has outpaced rival currency <a href="https://markets.businessinsider.com/currencies/btc-usd">bitcoin's</a> gains so far this year.</p><p>The token rose 6% to trade around $3,142 as of 04:00 a.m. ET. That takes its year-to-date gains to more than 300%, far exceeding bitcoin's 95% rise in 2021.</p><p>The digital asset's popularity is embedded in its position as the <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/defi-decentralized-finance-disruptive-bitcoin-benefits-challenges-bofa-crypto-finance-2021-3'utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=sf-bi-main&fbclid=IwAR0ACH97XgDVQ3EaP0AaeoE_xqFynStY9OUUSLVzW-g3P0tyluwsWN9M1bk">blockchain of choice for many products</a> and services that use DeFior decentralized financeapplications. Transactions on the Ethereum blockchain hit a record high of <a href="https://twitter.com/fintechfrank/status/1389051699751391235">41.7 million</a> in April.</p><p>DeFi refers to a class of new applications that aim to replace traditional financial productslike lending and borrowing, trading, saving, derivatives, and optionsthrough the use of decentralized tech, rather than relying on a company or bank. These are typically built on the Ethereum blockchain.</p><p>Investors are betting that DeFi's rise will spur Ethereum's growth for two reasons, according to Sergey Nazarov, the cofounder of blockchain platform Chainlink.</p><p>"Thousands of developers are building applications that recreate traditional financial products in decentralized ways on top of Ethereum, and as more and more users pour in to interact with these apps, they require ETH to conduct any transaction," he said in a note to Insider.<a href="https://links92.mixmaxusercontent.com/5fd3b03bf27084fd8d95e504/l/ixh4jTK2t0mqiGfMt'messageId=!!!MESSAGE_ID!!!&rn=!!!RECIPIENT_NAME_ENC!!!&re=!!!EMAIL_ADDR_ENC!!!&sc=!!!IS_SENDER_COPY!!!" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url'q=https://links92.mixmaxusercontent.com/5fd3b03bf27084fd8d95e504/l/ixh4jTK2t0mqiGfMt'messageId%3D!!!MESSAGE_ID!!!%26rn%3D!!!RECIPIENT_NAME_ENC!!!%26re%3D!!!EMAIL_ADDR_ENC!!!%26sc%3D!!!IS_SENDER_COPY!!!&source=gmail&ust=1620108235082000&usg=AFQjCNH1YX4e57m6d4H6jILi_UTnCk2Vjg"></a></p><p>"Second, there seems to be growing institutional interest in the public Ethereum blockchain, as stakeholders play around with ways to leverage the public network. For instance, just in the past week, the European Investment Bank announced it will launch a <a href="https://markets.businessinsider.com/currencies/news/european-investment-bank-selling-first-ever-digital-bonds-ethereum-blockchain-2021-4-1030353465">digital bond sale on Ethereum</a> and JPMorgan issued a report examining ETH's historical performance."</p><p><a href="https://markets.businessinsider.com/currencies/news/ether-price-ethereum-network-european-investment-bank-jpmorgan-ubs-2021-4-1030357506">JPMorgan predicted last week</a> that ether's outperformance against bitcoin could continue. Bitcoin is more of a crypto commodity than a currency, while ether functions more as a medium of exchange, the bank said.</p><p>Billionaire investor Mark Cuban has also previously said he thinks ether's use will spark the <a href="https://unchainedpodcast.com/mark-cuban-on-why-he-thinks-eth-is-a-better-store-of-value-than-bitcoin/">development of apps that will "dwarf" bitcoin</a>.</p><p><a href="https://markets.businessinsider.com/currencies/news/ethereum-price-record-all-time-high-3000-milestone-bitcoin-gains-2021-5-1030377331#comments">Join the conversation about this story »</a></p> <p>NOW WATCH: <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/sneaky-ways-costco-buy-more-tricks-2018-5">Sneaky ways Costco gets you to buy more</a></p> Click here to read full news..