Cardano (ADA), the native cryptocurrency powering the Cardano public blockchain, surged on Thursday to a new all-time high and has surpassed the BNB token in total market capitalization to become the third largest coin.

The coin has been on a monster rally in recent weeks and is up 150% from July 21 lows of $1 to around $2.58 on Sunday, slightly cooling off from its record high of $2.65 apiece. Strong levels of daily buyer volume, the highest since the end of May, are matching price action on the way up signaling robust demand for the token.

Founded by Ethereum cofounder Charles Hoskinson in 2017, Cardano wants to compete with Ethereum and other decentralized application platforms as an efficient, scalable, and secure alternative. It seems that investors' sentiment is supported by Cardano's upcoming Alonzo upgrade scheduled for October 1, which aims to transition in smart-contract functionality and enter the ecosystem's third era dubbed Goguen, though many critics believe the change will come late.

Here is the rest of the week in review:

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler on Wednesday warned that decentralized finance (DeFi) projects are not innately immune to oversight by the main markets and securities regulator. He said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that DeFi projects have features that make them similar to the type of entities currently regulated by the SEC and federal authorities. He argued that although DeFi projects are ostensibly decentralized and feature no central entities in charge, the projects that reward participants with incentives or digital tokens could enter territory subject to SEC regulation. Gensler explained: "There's still a core group of folks that are not only writing the software, like the open-source software, but they often have governance and fees. There's some incentive structure for those promoters and sponsors in the middle of this." His remarks come amid an ongoing dispute between global finance regulators and crypto asset exchanges and DeFi projects over the appropriate amount of regulatory oversight.

The Poly Network hacker known as "Exploiter 1" is still holding about $141 million worth of crypto hostage, days after the mysterious criminal returned most of the over $600 million in coins stolen on August 10 via a code exploit. China-based blockchain protocol Poly Network said Thursday it sent a bounty of 160 ETH worth almost $500,000 to the attacker after most of the loot was fully recovered. The firm wrote: "There are still 28,953 ETH and 1,032 WBTC (about $141 million) left in 3/4 multi-signature wallets for which we await Mr. White Hat to provide his private key authorization." But for whatever reason, the attacker has refused to provide an encryption key needed to unlock the remaining funds. Poly Network is gradually restarting suspended operations, with full functionality restored for at least 31 assets. While the attacker's motive remains unknown, the hack is the biggest ever in DeFi history and highlights the risks for investors of using experimental software protocols that may not be safe.

Crypto prices rose to $2.07 trillion this week amid the recent uptrend. For the majors, all except XRP ended in the green. In the top 100, the biggest losers were Ethereum Classic (ETC), down 10.4%, BitTorrent (BTT), down 7.6%, and VeChain (VET), down 6.4%. The biggest gainers were Avalanche (AVAX), up a whopping 144%, Arweave (AR), up 78%, and Audius (AUDIO), up 74%. Next week traders will watch how Bitcoin approaches the key $50,000 level.

The author owns a small amount of BTC.