‘ETH Could Fall to $1,700’: Analysts Urge Caution As ETH Hits $3K

On February 21, Ethereum‘s native token, Ether (ETH), breached the $3,000 mark for the first time since April 2022. The cryptocurrency has gained around 25% in price over the past month and more than 76% over the past year, according to data from CoinMarketCap

As the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap hits highs not seen in almost two years, crypto investors and Ethereum enthusiasts are keenly observing its movements for potential gains or drops.

In this article, we delve deeper into the factors driving the ETH price and explore analysts’ opinions on the sustainability of the latest hike over the long term.

Key Takeaways

  • Ether has crossed the $3,000 mark for the first time since April 2022.
  • The Merge and the Shanghai/Shapella upgrade have been pivotal in Ethereum’s recent price surge.
  • There is increased market optimism with the potential approval of a spot Ether ETF by the SEC.
  • The upcoming Dencun upgrade is expected to usher in a new era for Ethereum, though its success is crucial for maintaining ETH’s price momentum.
  • Despite Ethereum’s promising developments and bullish market sentiment, analysts caution about the volatility and potential risks.

What Drove ETH to the $3,000 Mark?

ETH’s journey back to $3,000 has been fueled by a mix of factors. After a tumultuous period that saw the coin’s value plummet to as low as $883 in June 2022, the cryptocurrency managed to gather momentum amid substantial developments within its ecosystem.

The most notable event for Ethereum over the past two years has been The Merge, which was completed in September 2022. The upgrade transitioned Ethereum from a proof-of-work (PoW) to a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, reducing its energy consumption by approximately 99.95%. 

Following The Merge, the Shanghai/Shapella upgrade in April 2023 marked another crucial development. This upgrade, through Ethereum Improvement Proposal-4895 (EIP-4895), enabled validators to withdraw staked ETH that had been locked on the Beacon Chain since as early as December 2020. 

Ethereum April 2022 - February 2024
Ethereum April 2022 – February 2024 (CoinMarketCap)

Meanwhile, Ethereum is also poised for some major developments in the near future. More prominently, the anticipation of a potential approval for a spot Ether exchange-traded fund (ETF) by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission has sparked optimism in the market.

According to Polymarket, the current odds indicate a 45% likelihood of a spot Ether ETF approval by May 31. Furthermore, Bloomberg’s Eric Balchunas forecasts a 70% chance of approval for Ether ETFs.

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Another notable development is the highly anticipated Dencun upgrade. Scheduled for March 13, the upgrade will implement several EIPs, including EIP-4844, which introduces proto-danksharding. The upgrade aims to simplify transactions by storing certain data off the blockchain, resulting in faster transactions and reduced costs.

The Dencun upgrade “will usher in a new era for the Proof-of-Stake network,” Robert Quartly-Janeiro, chief strategy officer at crypto exchange Bitrue, told Techopedia. 

Analysts Divided In Their ETH Price Predictions

While Ethereum has been largely successful in holding onto its gains, the cryptocurrency faces a potential downside if it fails to meet expectations with its Dencun upgrade. 

Bitrue’s Quartly-Janeiro noted that Ethereum will become scalable after the upgrade, but the congestion problem might not be completely solved. He added:

“This could see the price back toward $1,700 if the upgrade doesn’t achieve what it’s hoped to.”

Yuya Hasegawa, an analyst at Bitbank, added that potential risk coming from the U.S. banking sector, specifically the Federal Reserve, could potentially also push the ETH price back down.

This price movement could be affected by the Fed’s emergency lending program which is due to come to an end on March 11, 2024. 

In a note to Techopedia, Hasegawa explained: “Another banking shock could eventually lead the Fed to introduce a brand new liquidity injection plan. But if the shock cascades to multiple banks, the stock market will get fragile and volatile, and that could affect the crypto market.

“In sum, Ethereum could climb well above $3,000, but the price could see a large swing after the Cancun upgrade.”

On the other hand, according to Bitrue’s research team, there’s potential for ETH to hit $3,500 in the weeks after the Dencun upgrade and $4,000 in the long run.

0xBeachball, the founder of Synonym, supports the long-term bullish sentiment. The founder told Techopedia that the ETH price could pull back temporarily but the cryptocurrency has the potential to “push higher into the summer as ETF/institutional bets start to stack up.” 

“We may lose $3,000 ETH for now, but I’d bet that we smash through that price again during the summer months.”

Other crypto analysts have also mentioned that there will be growing demand for ETH, which could further drive the price higher. In a recent post on X, crypto veteran Ryan Sean Adams said, “Ethereum hasn’t even hit its demand season yet.”

Adams also believes that the potential introduction of a spot ETH ETF could boost the coin’s price, especially in the absence of “new supply.” 

The supply data shows a decrease of 18,960 ETH in total coins circulating over the past 30 days, according to Ultrasound.money. It’s important to note that this metric doesn’t necessarily reflect the ETH available for sale.

Crypto trader Michaël van de Poppe, with almost 700k followers on X, echoed this sentiment, claiming that there would be a “massive” period to be rotating from Bitcoin towards Ethereum. 

The Bottom Line

Ethereum’s recent surge past the $3,000 mark comes on the back of a successful transition to a Proof-of-Stake mechanism through The Merge, as well as the anticipation surrounding the Dencun upgrade and the potential approval of a spot Ether ETF. 

Furthermore, Bitcoin’s halving events, which occur every four years, have historically led to increased interest and speculative price surges in the broader cryptocurrency market, including ETH. 

Nevertheless, the bear case for Ethereum could involve a combination of regulatory crackdowns, technical setbacks in upcoming upgrades, or a failure to effectively address scalability and gas fee issues.

Additionally, competition from other blockchain platforms offering similar or superior capabilities with lower fees and faster transactions could also impact Ethereum’s market position.

While many ETH price predictions exist out there, the old adage is “In a gold rush, sell shovels,” and Ether, through the ERC-20 standard and Ethereum Virtual Machine, is certainly the cryptocurrency on which a lot of the space operates.

Let’s see if the new advancements will help keep it that way.

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Ruholamin Haqshanas
Cryptocurrency journalist

Ruholamin is a crypto and financial journalist with over three years of experience. Apart from Techopedia, he has been featured in major news outlets, including Cryptonews, Investing.com, 24/7 Wall St, The Tokenist, Business2Community, and has also worked with some prominent crypto and DeFi projects.  He holds a Bachelor's degree in Mechatronics. Ruholamin enjoys reading about tech developments, writing, and nature-watching