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LONDON — Ether surged past $4,000 Monday to hit a new record high, extending a stunning rally for the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency.

Ether, the digital token of the Ethereum blockchain, rose to an all-time high of $4,196.63 at 12:15 p.m. ET, according to Coin Metrics. It now has a total market value of $483.4 billion, less than half bitcoin’s $1.09 trillion.

As of around 12:30 p.m. ET, ether was up 8.1% at a price of $4,187.32. Bitcoin, on the other hand, inched up 1.1% to $57,962.18.

Once in bitcoin’s shadow, ether has seen parabolic gains recently as investors look to other cryptocurrencies for returns. Bitcoin fell over 2% in April, while ether rose more than 40%. The entire crypto market is currently worth around $2.5 trillion, according to CoinMarketCap, on the back of growing interest in the space.

Mainstream investors and some corporate buyers like Tesla flocked to bitcoin earlier this year, viewing the digital coin as a potential inflation hedge as central banks around the globe print money to relieve coronavirus-battered economies. Major Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have also sought to provide their wealthy clients with bitcoin exposure.

However, some investors still aren’t buying the crypto craze. Michael Hartnett, chief investment strategist at Bank of America Securities, said bitcoin’s rally looks like the “mother of all bubbles,” while Alvine Capital’s
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