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The bitcoin price has added around 20% since this time last month while ethereum has rocketed 50% as hype over its long-awaited merge upgrade reaches fever pitch—with one ethereum cofounder making a surprise ethereum price prediction.
Now, crypto traders are closely-watching for signs that ethereum could finally overtake bitcoin as the largest cryptocurrency by value—implying a more than 100% ethereum—with one high-profile analyst saying the so-called “flippening” is getting closer “by the day.”
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“I keep hearing people repeating the question, ‘wen [sic] flippening?,'” Mati Greenspan the founder of crypto analytics researcher Quantum Economics, wrote in a note. “Even though there’s no guarantee this will ever happen, just looking at the numbers, it does seem like this event is getting closer by the day.”
Many in the ethereum community have long-predicted the ethereum market capitalization, currently just under half of bitcoin’s more than $400 billion, will eventually eclipse bitcoin due to ethereum’s smart contract functionality and its broader ultility. The ethereum price has swung wildly over the last year amid an explosion in the popularity of digital collectibles known as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) built on the ethereum blockchain.
However, bitcoin has also seen an increase in demand as investors bet it will eventually become the digital equivalent of gold.
“We do like ether, and we think it’s a major differentiator,” Joe DiPasquale, the chief executive of crypto hedge fund manager BitBull Capital, told Fortune. “Bitcoin has been the hundred-pound gorilla, but ether is really the other hundred-pound gorilla. Everything else trails behind.”
Meanwhile, analysts are predicting the U.S. Federal Reserve—largely blamed for this year’s extreme bitcoin, crypto and stock market gyrations—could “sharply” slow its pace of interest rate hikes and “move to policy easing rather quickly”, potentially causing further price swings.
“Since the next [Federal Reserve interest rate meeting] is in September, we are likely to see increased volatility in the coming month as speculators take their chances,” DiPasquale added via email.
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Ethereum’s merge upgrade, tentatively scheduled for mid-September, will see the network switch away from bitcoin’s proof-of-work consensus mechanism to the more energy-efficient proof-of-stake. This will allow ethereum holders to “stake” their ether to secure the network in return for freshly-minted coins rather than relying on so-called miners who use high-powered computers to secure the blockchain and verify transactions.
Last week, ethereum cofounder and the project’s spiritual leader Vitalik Buterin has said he still doesn’t think ethereum’s long-awaited merge upgrade is fully “priced in”—predicting that “once the merge happens, morale is going to go way up.”