The world’s second most popular cryptocurrency has surged to a fresh all-time ahead of tonight’s upgrade to tackle the expensive transaction fees plaguing the network.

Ethereum was trading at $US2,470 ($3,205) this afternoon, even as Bitcoin pulled back slightly from yesterday’s all-time high following Coinbase’s direct listing on the NASDAQ during the overnight hours.

Ether has gained 5.6 per cent in the past 24 hours, 24 per cent in the past week and over 15-fold in the past year. Those who bought Ether at about US30c during its 2014 initial coin offering and still have it are looking at mind-boggling 827,567 per cent gain.

The gains came as Ethereum prepared to implement the Berlin upgrade, a hard fork scheduled to take place at 8.15pm AEDT that backers hope will solve a major issue for the network.

As the so-called world computer has become more popular, the gas fees that users pay to use transactions has soared, rising from under US10c a year ago to as much as $US40 in February.

Today the average transaction fee is US$18.90 ($24.50), while other proof-of-stake networks such as Cardano and Algorand have negligible fees. “Layer 2 solutions” such as Polygon (MATIC) and Celer Network (Celer) have proliferated that aim to solve Ethereum’s high gas fees by aggregating transactions.

The Berlin upgrade – the first since the Istanbul hard fork back in December 2019 – won’t solve Ethereum’s scaling problems entirely but will change the algorithm used to calculate gas fees, hopefully reducing them somewhat.

Dogecoin up 25%, hits 14c

Overall the cryptocurrency market was mixed, with 48 of the top 100 coins on Coingecko gaining ground and 51 losing it.

Crypto market

At 3.25pm AEDT, Bitcoin was trading at $US62,876 ($81,775), down 2.4 per cent from 24 hours ago.

Meme/joke coin Dogecoin continued its pump, leapfrogging six cryptocurrencies in the past four days to become a top 10 coin by market capitalisation.

Dogecoin was trading at US14c, up 25 per cent from yesterday and up from US0.8c in late January.

It is up 126 per cent in the past seven days, making it the best-performing top 100 coin in that period.

Uniswap, the eighth-most valuable crypto, had also set a new all-time high, while the rest of the top 10 had declined.

The other top 100 coins setting new peaks were Nexo, Cosmos (ATOM), VeChain, Chainlink, LEO Token, cETH and XDC.

Status (SNT) was the best gainer in the top 100, adding 27.9 per cent.