Ether (ETH) price surpasses bitcoin (BTC) as ethereum merger nears

Ether has vastly outperformed bitcoin since both cryptocurrencies bottomed in June 2022. Ether’s superior gains have come as investors anticipate a major upgrade to the ethereum blockchain dubbed the “merger.”

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Since bottoming out in mid-June, ether has far outperformed bitcoin as investors anticipate a major upgrade to the ethereum blockchain.

Bitcoin hit a low of $1[ads1]7,601 on June 19 and is up about 31% since then from Friday’s trading price, according to CoinDesk data.

Ether also hit its most recent low on June 19 at $880.93, but has rallied 106% since then.

The huge difference in performance in the two cryptocurrencies comes down to one major factor: a major upgrade in the ethereum blockchain. Ether is the original cryptocurrency of the ethereum network.

Ethereum’s upgrade, dubbed the “merger,” is scheduled to take place on September 15 after many delays. The blockchain will change from a so-called proof-of-work system to a model called proof-of-stake. A full explanation of the merger can be found here.

Advocates say the move will make the ethereum network faster and more energy efficient.

“The upcoming Ethereum merger is the biggest narrative in crypto right now and explains why Ether has left Bitcoin in its wake over the past month,” Antoni Trenchev, co-founder of crypto trading platform Nexo, told CNBC via email.

“A blockchain that claims to be energy efficient will always capture the imagination of the masses, which is why Ether has the wind in its sails ahead of the merger, a move towards proof of stake.”

Sustainable rally?

But the recent ether rally, which has seen its price double in two months, has been swift.

One analyst said the rally could continue, but there could be some resistance around the $2,000 mark. Ether was trading at $1,814 on Friday.

Jacob Joseph, research analyst at data service CryptoCompare, said that with no Federal Open Market Committee meeting scheduled for August and stocks seeing a rally, “it’s reasonable to believe that Ethereum could still rally as we approach the merger.”

“But … $2,000 has proven to be a major resistance for Ether, and the asset needs more wind behind its sails to break that level.”

Joseph added that bitcoin is unlikely to outperform ether in the near term.

There is a risk of the ether price rise, according to Trenchev.

“Any further (unlikely) delay to the mid-September merger would see a unwinding of much of Ether’s 50% rally since mid-July,” he said.

There is always a chance for traders to take profits on the huge rally as well, Trenchev said.

“The merger, if successful, could well turn out to be a ‘buy the rumor and sell the news,’ given the impressive gains we’ve seen in Ether,” Trenchev added.

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