Ether Circles Above $1.9K as Shanghai Hard Fork Nears

Liquid staking tokens also rise on Wednesday. Bitcoin holds steady above $28,000.

AccessTimeIconApr 5, 2023 at 8:21 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 6, 2023 at 3:13 p.m. UTC

Ether (ETH), the native token of the Ethereum blockchain, circled above $1,900 for much of Wednesday, a week before the Shanghai hard fork.

The second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization was recently trading at $1,913, up about 2.2%. Earlier in the day ETH surged to $1,941, its highest level since last August.

The chart shows the ether's price jump on Wednesday. (CoinDesk)
The chart shows the ether's price jump on Wednesday. (CoinDesk)

“Ether appears to be pushing higher out of a flag pattern, which supports near-term upside follow through,” Will Tamplin, senior analyst at technical analysis-based research firm Fairlead Strategies, told CoinDesk in an email.

The Shanghai upgrade, also called Shapella, will mark the completion of Ethereum’s full transition to a proof-of-stake (PoS) network, and will enable staked ETH withdrawals. It is expected to go live on April 12.

Tamplin said ETH is likely to meet its resistance initially near $2,000, “a psychological threshold that roughly aligns with the August 2022 high.” Its initial support is near $1,670, he added.

Bitcoin (BTC), the largest cryptocurrency by market value, was about flat from Tuesday, same time, to trade at around $28,280. BTC has been range-bound between $27,000 and $28,500 for much of the past three weeks,

Greg Magadini, director of derivatives at crypto analytics firm Amberdata, noted in an email discussing crypto options markets that ETH’s 25-delta calls have become more expensive than ETH’s 25-delta puts, which showed traders' preference for upside exposure. Typically, the call buyer is bullish on the market, while the put buyer is bearish. Delta is a risk metric that estimates the change in price of a derivative, such as an options contract.

“The recent rally was heavily led by BTC, but now with the upgrade and the enthusiasm around Twitter and dogecoin speculation, we’re seeing interest begin to pick up in altcoins,” Magadini wrote.

ETH continued to turn deflationary, with its annualized inflation rate currently sitting at -0.32%, according to data from This means the amount of ETH being burned is more than what is being minted.

Meanwhile, Lido DAO’s LDO and Rocket Pool’s RPL, the liquid staking protocols’ governance tokens, both rose over 2%, according to CoinGecko’s data.

Among other altcoins, cross-chain bridge protocol Stargate Finance's native STG token gained more than 14% on Wednesday, while encrypted messaging protocol Mask Network's MASK token sank 4%. The CoinDesk Market Index, which measures overall crypto market performance, recently increased 0.6% from a day ago.

“In the bigger picture, if Q2 does indeed prove to be an alt-driven quarter, in a replay of 2020, then we expect the best trade would be to fade any sharp vol rallies from here on both BTC or ETH,” Singapore-based crypto options trading firm QCP Capital said in a Telegram broadcast on April 4.

“If we are really in the replay of 2020, then Q2 consolidation will prove to be a short pause before the uptrend resumes in Q3/Q4,” the firm added. “The timing of this will be decided by how quickly the Fed changes course in the face of the rapidly slowing economy.”

Edited by James Rubin.


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Jocelyn Yang

Jocelyn Yang is a markets reporter at CoinDesk. She is a recent graduate of Emerson College's journalism program.