As Ethereum’s largest upgrade since the network’s 2015 inception is expected within roughly a week’s time, the price of the industry’s second-largest cryptocurrency has recently been on quite a rollercoaster.
Last month, the cryptocurrency briefly surpassed the psychological $2,000 level, but the momentum didn’t last long, as the asset fell back to within the $1,500 - $1,700 range.
Ethereum, currently trading at about $1,610, surged 6% over the past 24 hours to recover from a sudden—and what seemed to be a rather speculative—dip the day before, when it fell close to $1,500.
A more interesting development, however, is Ethereum’s historical contest against Bitcoin (BTC)—the market’s oldest and largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization.
While the so-called “flippening”—an event in which Ethereum's market cap eclipses Bitcoin's—may have not happened as of yet, the price of ETH against BTC has been on quite a decent run since mid-June.
As data from CoinMarketCap shows, the ETH:BTC ratio hit 0.08514 Bitcoin per 1 Ethereum late on Wednesday night, which is the highest level the pair has been trading this year.
It is also the best performance for Ethereum versus Bitcoin since December last year, when the market—fresh from its historical heights—was on the verge of a downward spiral that eventually took the price of Bitcoin below $20,000.
Ethereum adds pressure to market leader
Whether this bullish trend is already priced in the merge—Ethereum’s imminent transition from proof-of-work (PoW) to a less energy-hungry proof-of-stake (PoW) system—is anybody’s guess. Still, it will be definitely interesting to see how the events develop over the next few weeks and months.
Still, as Dan Held, the head of growth marketing at Kraken, recently told Decrypt, Ethereum’s forthcoming merge is likely to add more pressure on Bitcoin, which, in turn, may also translate into future price movements.
Specifically, as Held noted, this may be relevant when the Bitcoin vs Ethereum narrative comes to the attention of the growing army of environmentalists concerned with Bitcoin’s energy consumption.
"I do think it will add pressure to Bitcoin's energy consumption, because they'll point to Ethereum and say, 'Hey, this blockchain'—I'm talking from a layperson's perspective here—'this blockchain isn't using very much energy at all, and you're using a lot.' And that's it. They're not going to understand proof of stake versus proof of work, or anything else."
Bitcoin is up 2% over the last day, trading at $19,182 by press time.