Ether surged Thursday after the long-awaited launch of a software upgrade meant to help the cryptocurrency transition to a more environmentally friendly blockchain network—a development that alongside surging mainstream adoptions has helped the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency far outperform larger rival Bitcoin.

Key Facts

In less than two hours Thursday morning, ether prices spiked 6% to a nearly three-month high above $2,800 after the London upgrade, which overhaul’s ethereum’s fee structure to make transaction costs easier to predict and less expensive, went live shortly after 8:30 a.m. EDT.

Though miners, who run power-intensive algorithms to verify cryptocurrency transactions on behalf of users, should expect revenue to drop as much as 50%, the new upgrade marks a major step in ether’s push to become more environmentally friendly by requiring less work from miners.

The surge boosted ether’s market capitalization above $325 billion and lifted year-to-date gains to more than 280%—far higher than market-leader bitcoin’s 33% increase.”​