Ethereum (ETH) extended its gains on Tuesday, climbing to $192.60. Trading volumes grew in the past days to above $11 billion’s equivalent in 24 hours. ETH rises partially on the back of the BTC rally, but also independently rising on inflows of Tether (USDT).

ETH has hovered above $180 for weeks, pressured by a series of altcoin sell-offs. But the new week Bitcoin (BTC) rally boosted optimism for some of the altcoins as well.


The Ethereum project

The Ethereum project still faces uncertainty based on the intentions of moving to ETH 2.0. The exact parameters of ETH 2.0 are still uncertain, and there may be years before the actual software upgrade.

ETH is boosted by a share of 58% of trades against Tether (USDT). The ERC-20 USDT token is becoming more active in the past weeks, with above 2.023 billion tokens minted on the network. The other boost to ETH is the rising share of DeFi projects. Maker DAO, the leading collateralized lending scheme, has collected more than 1.71 million ETH.

The Ethereum project is now boosted by highly active usage of the network, securing fees surpassing $200,000 on certain days. Smart contracts like that of ChainLink (LINK), Eth2DAI, Tether, and Maker, secure a large part of the fees.

The network may be seeing an inflow of ASIC or specialized machines, with data of high capacity mining. The interest of miners is flowing in tentatively, against the headwinds of projects aiming to fork the protocol and disable the ASIC. So far, this has not happened, and proof-of-stake is still at least 18 months away, based on the Berlin hard fork schedule.

According to a recent CoinMetrics report, the inflow of ASIC is only visible as a recent anomaly in nonce distribution.

ETH still uses its first mover advantage, despite not being the most innovative network. Still, multiple tokens and smart contracts depend on ETH. The share of ETH in total trading remains relatively high at 12.56%, boosting smaller altcoins and projects. An ETH rally could help boost other assets for an attempt at an “altcoin season”.