Welcome back to the Wisly crypto-verse. It’s been a week at the edge of our seats with news breaking hourly of new institutional interest and further NFT hype. Easter saw Alt Season’s resurrection as rallies in the alt markets created bullish momentum for crypto overall. While XRP found itself valued at over $1 for the first time since 2018, before recoiling to sit just below.

Let’s take a closer look at what other milestone moments and intriguing stories came out of the crypto industry this week.

Crypto Market Cap Surpasses $2 Trillion

The total market value of cryptocurrencies has broken through the $2 trillion mark for the first time, doubling in the last two months as institutional demand surges. Bitcoin (Link to – https://wisly.io/how-many-people-own-bitcoin/) alone is now worth more than $1 trillion after its price has more than doubled in 2021 thus far. The leading cryptocurrency has been on a tear as institutional investors continue to dabble in crypto to boost cash returns in a world of falling interest rates.

Bitcoin advanced Monday after Grayscale Bitcoin Trust — the world’s largest institutional holder of the cryptocurrency, with $34 billion under management — announced plans to convert the trust to an exchange-traded fund. Last week, Coinbase Global, the biggest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange, revealed plans to have its shares commerce trading later this month on the Nasdaq following a direct listing.

The psychological $2 trillion barrier was cleared comfortably but not without the help of well-performing altcoins. Sharp increases in the price of smaller digital currencies such as Ethereum, Binance coin, Ripple’s XRP, and Litecoin propelled crypto to a new milestone.

Ether Reaches All-Time High

Ether, the digital token of the Ethereum network and second-largest cryptocurrency, has risen to a record high as the rally in digital assets broadens beyond Bitcoin. Konstantin Anissimov, executive director at cryptocurrency exchange CEX.IO, feels the latest backing from Visa has given the bulls a new reason to persist upwards.

Visa said last week that its payments network would use USD Coin to settle transactions over Ethereum, which has helped boost sentiment about the platform. Billionaire entrepreneur, Mark Cuban, added fuel to the fire with comments about his crypto portfolio consisting of 30% of Ether and believing it’s the closest to a true currency. The ongoing upgrade of the network has also peaked investor interest, according to Greg Waisman, co-founder, and COO of the global payment network Mercuryo.

Another contributing factor to the ETH price rally is the relatively upbeat DeFi industry. In the past few days, the industry’s total value has jumped to a record $51 billion. Some of the biggest DeFi platforms, such as Uniswap, Maker, and Compound, have led this rally. The industry and ETH have a symbiotic relationship as most platforms are built on the Ethereum blockchain.

With a market value of about $230 billion, the Ether token has mirrored the gains in Bitcoin over the past year. However, it’s done so amongst a flood of stimulus aimed to boost the global economy during the Covid-19 pandemic. This has led critics to classify crypto as a speculative bubble likely to burst. Julius de Kempenaer, a senior analyst at StockCharts.com, recently commented on Ether’s relatively strong gains compared to Bitcoin.

Decentralised Messaging App Introduces Crypto Reward System 

The decentralised social messaging application company, Make Sense Labs, funded by venture capitalist Tim Draper, now allows its users to earn rewards in crypto. The messaging app was initially aimed at avoiding third-party data harvesting but now adds a new dimension to its platform with the incentive of crypto accumulation.

According to an announcement from the technology company, it launched the crypto rewards feature on Monday on its Sense Chat app, which was first developed in 2018. Sense Chat enables its users to earn the company’s native SENSE token by interacting with others online, subscribing to various channels, inviting new users to join, and creating message threads.

Crystal Rose Pierce, CEO of Make Sense and wife of controversial crypto figure Brock Pierce, said the project was created to break free from third-party data-harvesting. This kind of data harvesting has become common practice for high-profile social media and messenger platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp. She says the app’s users will retain control of their data while maintaining their privacy.

Recently even those with the intention to preserve their users’ privacy have failed to do so and experienced massive breaches. Just last year, Telegram suffered a data leak that exposed personal user data on the darknet. While messaging app Signal accepts donations in crypto, Sense Chat may be one of the few privacy-oriented apps to offer crypto rewards. Based on the EOS blockchain, SENSE currently has a market capitalisation of more than $10 million.