Founder of Ethereum Vitalik Buterin

The price of ethereum, a bitcoin rival, briefly fell more than 15 percent Wednesday amid a flood of demand and increased worries it may face a divisive debate on how to upgrade its network.

Ethereum, also known as ether, recovered to trade slightly lower near $328 Wednesday evening, according to CoinDesk.

The sharp fall comes after ethereum shot up more than 3,000 percent this year, far surpassing bitcoin’s already stellar 180 percent gain and coming close to beating bitcoin as the digital currency with the greatest market value.