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The highly popular game CryptoKitties has decreased its gas usage to around 12% of the network from peaks above 20%, with new lowered prices on the "breeding" smart contract. With the network congestion resolved, Ethereum spiked again after the recent slump. 

ETH prices rose more than 12% overnight toward $525. The coin is up a net 12% in the past seven days, despite being pressured by the rise in Bitcoin. The most bullish predictions for ETH include a price rise to around $1,500 as the end of the year stretch turns into another frenzied bull market. Even more extreme prognoses see levels up to $2,000 and even above that in 2018. 

Ethereum has been something of a lagger to Bitcoin's rise as well, and the next year may turn the tables, according to some predictions.

In 2018, Ethereum would also evolve toward a proof-of-stake coin with master nodes, in addition to carrying more and more products released by the startups currently at the pre-release stage. This would increase the visibility of the network. 

Vitalik Buterin has recently expressed his interest in digital assets as staking vehicles, rather than direct means of exchange, meaning that coins now become an asset for securing a network, and may not be spent directly on consumer goods, but instead on computing power.

At the moment, CryptoKitties is one of the most user-friendly apps that attracts users to test the blockchain technology. Due to heightened interest, CryptoKitties had increased its fees, but now lowered the fee to the "breeding" smart contract once again:

The price for new kitties has also fallen by around 30%, although it had reached a peak at 10 ETH. Currently, the secondary marketplace for the unique digital cats commands higher prices, with the most expensive offers a mystifying 100,000 ETH.

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CryptoKitties: Ethereum's Biggest Gas Guzzler

But Ethereum will still be struggling to prove what kind of digital asset it is: whether it is a utility token that would pay for gas, or a speculative asset. Because of its liquidity and prominent position, Ethereum has been considered for mainstream investment products such as Exchange-traded notes or specialized investment vehicles.