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 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 Block.one 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 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.”