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Ethereum co-creator Steven Nerayoff says the cryptocurrency's value could triple in 2018

  • Ethereum co-creator Steven Nerayoff said businesses in a wide variety of industries are starting to take note of what value ethereum's protocol could offer them.
  • Nerayoff attributes increased usage to ethereum's ability to process transactions more quickly and cheaply than its rival.
  • Nerayoff said increasing interest in cryptocurrency will stimulate value for ethereum in 2018, regardless of whether it overtakes bitcoin.

Ethereum co-creator Steven Nerayoff says increased projects built on the cryptocurrency could trigger a "flippening" in 2018, in which ethereum overtakes bitcoin.

"What you're seeing with ethereum is exponential increase in the number of projects — there are billions of dollars being poured into the ecosystem right now — maybe 10 times more projects this year than last year, which could easily lead to a doubling, probably a tripling in price by the end of the year," Nerayoff said Monday on CNBC's "Fast Money."

While bitcoin was designed to function as a peer to peer electronic payment system, ethereum was designed for smart contracts that execute when specific conditions are met. Nerayoff, who helped craft token sales for the ethereum project, said businesses in an increasingly wide variety of industries are starting to take note of what value Ethereum's protocol could offer them.

"You're seeing a tremendous amount of growth across a wide variety of industries. Fintech is actually the natural area, but now you're seeing it becoming increasingly more creative — you find projects in the oil and gas industry, you're finding government using it in their applications, you're seeing it in gaming, all kinds of different areas," Nerayoff said.

Beyond project building, Nerayoff said usage is increasing because ethereum can process transactions more quickly and cheaply than its rival.

"People are actually using it for currency, as well," he said. "Lower transactional costs are increasing usage of the entire network, and that's increasing the network effects of it. There are more users, more projects being built on there and more programmers," he said.

Despite his confidence, Nerayoff isn't discounting bitcoin and the interest in cryptocurrency it inspired in 2017.

"The entire space is increasing. There is huge interest by the public and there are more areas in which the public can invest, even in bitcoin, so you could just see an expansion in the entire space," he said.

Either way, when it comes to 2018, Nerayoff thinks ethereum is going to have a good year.

On the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange, bitcoin closed down 8.73 percent at $14,766.86, with a market cap of $248 billion.

Ethereum had an estimated $110 billion market cap at close.