Ethereum confidently broke above $1,000 and continued upward, trading at a premium above $1,900 in Korea. As more ETH-based tokens are making headlines, so the underlying asset is getting a boost. For certain, acquiring ETH would be a necessity for many new investors, who would need to pay gas prices for moving and using their tokens. In 2018, we may see the demand for ETH rise organically precisely because of gas demands: 


1. Ethereum is Finally Catching Up: After ETH spent months with a ho-hum market price, while Bitcoin was posting head-spinning records, the tables may be turning. Suddenly, ICO projects are coming to the front, and the true potential of Ethereum is seen. ETH wallets continue to rise, beyond the short-term hype of CryptoKitties. The renewed interest also activated trading, as ETH is part of a vast array of trading pairs.

2. The Ethereum Network is Indispensable: In 2018, the use cases for smart contracts, tokens, and distributed apps, may become more numerous. Other networks are still less evolved, and may need time to attract as many projects as ETH. So far, projects like Stellar and WAVES are nowhere near the popularity of ETH, which has been making the rounds for years, with a growing community and developer talent. Speaking of talent, 

3. Ethereum is Smart: Simply put, the Ethereum community is playing around with smart ideas. Some may be too outlandish, others may stick, and lead to usable products and stable smart contracts. In any case, Ethereum is a playground of ideas, and may generate the apps and solutions of tomorrow. The Ethereum network itself evolves with an eye to the future. Vitalik Buterin himself monitors the vitals of the network: 

4. Ethereum Mining Stops: If the update to stop Ethereum mining finally comes around, then ETH will become a staking coin, and rise in value as sums are locked up in wallets. For now, Ethereum still relies on miners, and the coins are freely supplied. The mining reward has fallen, however, making Ethereum more precious. 

5. An Outright Attack on Bitcoin: The ETH market price still has not recovered to the summer heights against BTC achieved this summer. ETH may struggle quite a bit against Bitcoin, as the two communities see little influx between each other, and the assets are not considered interchangeable. But Ethereum may see new inflows from interested investors, who discover tokens and the ETH network first. 

The current rise in ETH may see a correction, but so far, ETH has been rising despite the slump in other altcoins. In the future, an exchange named Ethfinex may even add margin trading via Ethereum-based USDT tokens, which would allow for much higher prices through what some see as a risky form of leverage in the market. In any case, at the beginning of 2018, Ethereum is showing its strength.