Photo: Xinhua

After finally smashing through heavy resistance at $1,400, Ethereum didn’t take long to surge past the $1,600 mark on Wednesday, soaring well into uncharted territory and taking major decentralized finance (DeFi) tokens along for the ride.

At the time of publication, Ether was trading around $1,639, up 7.43% in 24 hours, according to CoinGecko.

Where Ether goes, the altcoins usually follow. Several DeFi tokens, including Chainlink, Sushiswap and Aave hit new all-time highs on Wednesday. Up-and-comers Polkadot and Solana – sometimes called “Ethereum killers” – soared alongside them.

The price surge has been attributed in part to growing institutional interest in Ethereum, which is slowly extending to various DeFi projects.

“The institutions are buying ETH,” Ryan Sean Adams, founder of newsletter Bankless, tweeted. “And they’re just getting started.”

Wildly optimistic

Wildly optimistic Ethereum price predictions are being tossed around the crypto space like confetti at an Italian wedding, which is likely contributing to the surge in interest.

Not long ago, a $5,000 December 2021 price target was considered a bit high – after all, it sank below $100 back in March and was considered by many to be dead in the water – but now it seems that the sky is the limit.

Respected analysts including Raoul Pal, CEO of Real Vision, believe it could reach $20,000 this year.

Pal tweeted on Wednesday, “ETH is up 126% YTD. Its Feb 3rd, FFS! I still expect it to hit $20k by around the turn of the year. The entire DA space is going to consume the performance of everything else, with BTC as the flag carrier as The Big Asset. It is up 30% YTD hugely beating every other major asset.”

Other analysts, including YouTuber DavinciJ15, believe that may be too conservative and are now talking about a price target of $50,000. If that number seems implausibly high, it is worth noting that DavinciJ15 made a YouTube video imploring his viewers to buy bitcoin in 2013 when it was just $1 (it is now over $37,000). Few took him seriously at the time.

Fellow YouTuber Elio Trades shares his unbridled optimism.

“Ethereum is the future of finance without a doubt. We are on the path to $2k, $5K and, in my opinion, multiples of $10K,” declared Elio Trades on Wednesday.