Bitcoin and ether hit fresh all-time highs on Tuesday, extending their rally from a day earlier.

Bitcoin’s price at one point rose above $68,000, eclipsing a previous record set in late October. The world’s biggest digital currency climbed as high as $68,521 before easing slightly to $67,935.

It was last up 3% in the past 24 hours as of 4:30 a.m. ET, according to Coin Metrics data.

Ether, the native currency of ethereum’s blockchain, notched a record high of $4,840, surpassing the $4,800 level for the first time ever.

The token traded about 2% higher in the last 24 hours at a price of $4,814.

These record-breaking moves come amid a wider rally in the crypto market. So-called “ethereum killers” solana and cardano are up 21% and 16% respectively in the last seven days.

The ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF, which launched in October and tracks bitcoin futures contracts pegged to the future price of the cryptocurrency, was up more than 8% on Monday.

While it is difficult to link short-term price movements to any specific event – and cryptocurrency price charts are often rife with volatility – some analysts think that both bitcoin and ether will continue to trend upward in the weeks ahead.

In a note sent on Monday, Mikkel Morch, executive director at crypto hedge fund ARK36, said a $70,000 price for bitcoin now “seems imminent.”

Others have bolder projections for where bitcoin is headed, as JPMorgan recently doubled down on its prediction that bitcoin would ultimately hit $146,000, with a shorter-term price target of $73,000 for this year.

Read more about cryptocurrencies from CNBC Pro

Next week, bitcoin rolls out its biggest upgrade in four years.

The software upgrade is known as Taproot. It will mean greater transaction privacy and efficiency – and crucially, it will unlock the potential for smart contracts, a key feature of its blockchain technology.

Meanwhile, ether has been on an upswing since it implemented Altair, a network upgrade that went live in late October.

Altair was largely seen as a non-event to most everyone except validators — that is, the people on the ethereum network who verify transactions. But the upgrade was a pivotal step in implementing ethereum 2.0 or Eth2, which has been in the works for years and will fundamentally overhaul the entire network.

Ethereum 2.0 would have the network switch from the energy-intensive “proof-of-work” mining system, where miners solve difficult math equations to create new coins, to “proof-of-stake,” which just requires users to leverage their existing cache of ether as a means to verify transactions and mint new tokens.

Eth2 aims to make ethereum more scalable, secure and sustainable. This change will be huge not just for ethereum, but for the wider cryptocurrency community at large.



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