Bitcoin (BTC) and ether have continued to lead the way for digital currencies over the past several days. These two prominent digital currencies have continued to gain value after plunging from late-2017 highs early in 2018. Now, bitcoin is edging upward toward $10,000 per coin, while ethereum is nearing $700. Because many other digital currency prices tend to mirror those of the leaders of the pack, bitcoin and ethereum may be able to claim a fair amount of responsibility for the digital currency space as a whole climbing upward toward $500 billion.

Ether Up 11% This Week

Over the past week, ether has climbed by about 11%. Much of those gains have taken place in the past 24 hours or so, when the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap has posted gains of more than 4%. In the last day, bitcoin has risen by more than 2%. Ripple is another leading cryptocurrency which has also seen gains over the past day.

Other cryptocurrencies in the top 10 positions by market cap have posted gains throughout the week but have slumped slightly as the weekend has approached. EOS and cardano, the number 5 and number 6 digital currencies on the list, respectively, have fallen by more than 6% each over the past day.

Long-Term Upward Trend Could Continue

According to a report by hacked.com, bitcoin remains clear from concerns about overbuying, suggesting that short-term buyers should trade on the upward trend while long-term investors should consider holding their assets. With all major coins confirming upward trends, it could be that there is the potential for more growth across the industry for the foreseeable future.

Cryptocurrencies Chip Away at Credit Card Growth

Also this week, Mastercard revealed that cryptocurrencies may have been responsible for chipping away at its first-quarter results, according to CNBC. However, this may not be for the reason that some investors would expect. Mastercard President and CEO Ajay Banga explained that "there's a little less interest [in buying cryptocurrencies with a credit card] than there was in the latter part of the fourth quarter and the first quarter." Other major banks like Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Citigroup all banned cryptocurrency purchases using their credit cards earlier in the year.

Investing in cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings ("ICOs") is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author owns no cryptocurrencies.

Want to learn how to invest?

Get a free 10 week email series that will teach you how to start investing.

Delivered twice a week, straight to your inbox.