Cryptocurrency slammed by HBO's John Oliver makes a 30 percent comeback this week

Key Points
  • Cryptocurrency "eos" has soared more than 35 percent this week, versus bitcoin's 4 percent gain and ethereum's 11 percent drop, according to CoinMarketCap.
  • News this week that cryptocurrency start-up Everipedia is planning to distribute its coins to eos holders in June helped drive price gains, said Tom Lee, head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors.
  • In a March 11 episode of "Last Week Tonight," talk show host John Oliver highlighted eos in his monologue warning viewers about the "speculative mania" and risks of investing in cryptocurrency.
A screen showing prices at a Cryptocurrency exchange store in Seoul on December 15, 2017.
Seung-il Ryu | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Cryptocurrency eos, which was criticized by HBO's John Oliver in a recent segment on investment fraud, is making a double-digit comeback this week as investors bet on more user adoption.

Eos was the only one of the 10 largest cryptocurrencies trading higher over the last 24 hours as of Thursday afternoon, according to CoinMarketCap. The coin traded near $7.01, up about 37.7 percent since Friday's close.

In contrast, more widely known cryptocurrencies are struggling. Ethereum is down about 11 percent, and bitcoin is up about 4 percent since Friday, according to CoinMarketCap.

EOS 30-day performance

Source: CoinMarketCap

Eos is a cryptocurrency for a forthcoming platform called eos.ios. The system intends to support more efficient operations for "decentralized applications" than existing platforms such as ethereum. If eos.ios is successful, proponents expect it could bring on much greater adoption of cryptocurrency-related technology.

Notably, former Fortress hedge-fund manager Michael Novogratz's Galaxy Digital announced in late January a joint venture with eos developer for a $325 million fund. In February, the fund led a $30 million investment in Wikipedia-like crypto project Everipedia, according to an announcement from the start-up.

Everipedia announced Tuesday it will distribute its coins in June to eos holders via the "airdrop" method that lets owners of an existing cryptocurrency receive a set amount of a new coin.

The airdrop news increased demand for eos, helping it climb this week, said Tom Lee, head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors and the only major Wall Street strategist to issue price targets on major cryptocurrencies.

"The market loves airdrops," Lee said. "It is essentially free money."

High demand from South Korean investors also helped eos' gains, according to Milan Koch, managing partner at crypto-asset VC fund Alphablock. Nearly half of eos trading volume comes from the South Korean platform Bithumb, according to CryptoCompare.

"North American and Western traders and investors follow the lead of South Korea's volume here," Koch said.

In a March 11 episode of "Last Week Tonight," talk show host John Oliver highlighted eos in his monologue warning viewers about the "speculative mania" and risks of investing in cryptocurrency.

"It can be incredibly hard to tell which companies are for real," Oliver said during the episode, which has 5.98 million views on YouTube. "If you want a good example of this, look at, which has raised $1.5 billion."

"It hasn't launched yet," Oliver said. He listed a host of concerns: the apparent lack of seriousness by advisor and noted early bitcoin investor Brock Pierce, the exponential pace of fundraising relative to established tech giants such as Facebook and a Wall Street Journal report that called eos "a software startup that doesn't plan to sell any software."

Eos' price subsequently dropped, falling as low as $3.95 one week later, according to CoinMarketCap. responded in a lengthy blog post that said Pierce has ended his role at the company by mutual agreement. It wasn't clear whether Pierce's departure was a result of the Oliver segment.

"We take professional standards seriously and are always focused on raising the bar as our company transitions from startup to aggressive growth," the post said.

The eos platform is set to go live this summer. However, even with the latest recovery above $7 its coin remains just over a third of its all-time high of $18.71 listed on CoinMarketCap.