First Mover Asia: Ether Climbs Over $2.1K to Further Its Post-Ethereum Shanghai Upgrade Surge

Bitcoin has also continued its more moderately-paced momentum, inching toward $31K. ALSO: CoinDesk columnist considers Shapella's immediate and potential long-term impact.

AccessTimeIconApr 14, 2023 at 1:52 a.m. UTC
Updated Apr 14, 2023 at 2:31 p.m. UTC

Good morning. Here’s what’s happening:

Prices: Ether rose sharply a day after the Ethereum Shanghai upgrade; bitcoin was also on the rise toward $31K.

Insights: The mass unlock of staked ETH that some crypto market observers predicted did not occur. Ether's price rose the prospects for Ethereum and liquid staking derivatives are encouraging.

Prices

1,327
+55.4 4.4%
$30,844
+773.3 2.6%
$2,122
+214.5 11.2%
S&P 500
4,146.22
+54.3 1.3%
Gold
$2,058
+47.4 2.4%
Nikkei 225
28,156.97
+74.3 0.3%
BTC/ETH prices per CoinDesk Indices, as of 7 a.m. ET (11 a.m. UTC)
CoinDesk Market Index (CMI)
1,327 +55.4 4.4%
Bitcoin (BTC)
$30,844 +773.3 2.6%
Ethereum (ETH)
$2,122 +214.5 11.2%
S&P 500
4,146.22 +54.3 1.3%
Gold
$2,058 +47.4 2.4%
Nikkei 225
28,156.97 +74.3 0.3%
BTC/ETH prices per CoinDesk Indices, as of 7 a.m. ET (11 a.m. UTC)

Ether Surges Past $2.1K; Bitcoin Inches Toward $31K

Crypto market observers expecting post-Shapella selling pressure to send ether's (ETH) price plunging slogged through a day of disappointment.

The second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization started edging up steadily shortly before U.S. equity markets opened, stalling only after ETH's price had climbed past $2,000 for the first time since August. Ether was recently trading over $2,100, up more than 11% over the past 24 hours, as investors opted for the prospect of additional liquidity while earning staking rewards over the desire to take immediate profits and run.

"Many traders had been waiting for the end of the upgrade to start long position accumulation," Ilya Volkov, CEO and co-founder of crypto trading service provider YouHodler, wrote CoinDesk in an email. "Therefore, neutral news about U.S. inflation plus deferred demand pushed ETH price up."

Volkov noted that if current macroeconomic conditions don't worsen, It is unlikely that ether will veer from a price upswing that began with other major cryptos at the start of the year, even if selling pressure increases in subsequent weeks. "Basically, ETH price stays in the same upward trend channel from the beginning of the year," he wrote.

Shapella, also called the Ethereum Shanghai upgrade, is the final leg in the Ethereum network’s transition from a proof-of-work (PoW) to more energy-efficient proof-of-stake (PoS) protocol. Crypto market observers had been split on its impact, with some predicting a price swing while others anticipated little change.

Bitcoin also continued its more moderately paced momentum, recently edging toward $31,000, up more than 2.5% from Monday at the same time. Other major cryptos spent much of Thursday in the green with ARB, the token of layer 2 companion blockchain Arbitrum, recently soaring about 33% and APT, the native crypto of layer 1 blockchain Aptos, jumping about 12%. The CoinDesk Index, a measure of crypto markets performance, was recently up nearly 5%.

Stocks closed higher with the tech-focused Nasdaq and S&P 500, which has a large tech component, rising 2% and 1.3%, respectively. A number of crypto-related stocks continued their recent upswing with miners Marathon Digital and Hut 8 Mining each rising about 15%. Recession-fearful Investors also continued to show their appetite for other assets that hold their value, sending gold above $2,050, near its all-time high of $2,069, set in 2020.

Will ether continue to rise? CoinDesk analyst Glenn Williams suggested that ETH deposits would offer some signals about its path forward. Since January 2021 "the trajectory of ether deposited into ETH staking contracts has steadily risen, a direction that suggests the asset is gaining, not losing, favor," Williams wrote. "Over the coming weeks and months, this metric will likely flatten as investors who must un-stake ETH begin the process of doing so. But for those who want to stake, Shapella’s completion signals reduced risk, increased liquidity and brought an uptick in asset value."

Biggest Gainers

Asset Ticker Returns DACS Sector
Ethereum ETH +11.1% Smart Contract Platform
Dogecoin DOGE +7.8% Currency
Cardano ADA +6.8% Smart Contract Platform

Biggest Losers

There are no losers in CoinDesk 20 today.

Insights

Why Didn’t You Sell the News of Ethereum’s Shanghai Upgrade?

Going by the numbers, it seems like many ether (ETH) stakers have decided to hold onto their coins. Although several analysts predicted the just-completed Ethereum Shanghai hard fork (along with the separate Capella upgrade, together known as “Shapella”) would be a “sell-the-news” moment, ETH has actually climbed to eight-month highs. The second-largest crypto by market capitalization was trading above $2,000 for the first time since last summer, after gaining ~3% during trading hours in Asia.

This article is excerpted from The Node, CoinDesk's daily roundup of the most pivotal stories in blockchain and crypto news. You can subscribe to get the full newsletter here.

What this says about the viability of Ethereum and the outlook for the price of ETH is an open question. Shanghai, the backward-compatible hard fork, unlocked the ability for Ethereum stakers to withdraw tokens they pledged to the Ethereum deposit contract used to validate the proof-of-stake network, as well as the token payments they received for doing so. Many stakers initially pledged 32 ETH to become validators in 2020, and haven’t really had access to their coins since.

So the 18 million-plus ETH currently staked (worth about $33 billion) has not led to a torrent of sales. Loyal CoinDesk readers likely knew the “selling pressure” on ETH was overstated. As Amphibian Capital CEO James Hodges wrote on Monday, the vast majority of ETH validators were in the red leading up to the event, making it unlikely they’d cash out at a loss. Now that crypto prices are rising, led in particular by bitcoin, which broke the important $30,000 threshold this week, fortunes may reverse.

Read the full story here.

Important events

CoinDesk TV

In case you missed it, here is the most recent episode of "First Mover" on CoinDesk TV:

Ethereum's Shanghai upgrade is complete and the network is now processing staking withdrawals. Joining "First Mover" to discuss Shapella, as the upgrade is also called, is a senior protocol engineer at Ethereum client Besu, Justin Florentine. Also, internet giants and their metaverse moves are getting some regulators concerned. Sebastien Borget, co-founder and chief operating officer of The Sandbox, joined to discuss. Plus, the latest in the FTX bankruptcy case and a closer look at the crypto scene in South Korea.

Headlines

ROOK Investors Begin Swapping Tokens for $25M Crypto Treasury: Rook Labs and activist investors reached a deal that returns millions of dollars to the former DAO.

Ether’s Post-Shanghai Rally Knocks Bitcoin Dominance From 21-Month High: ETH’s share of the total crypto market capitalization rose to a one-month high, according to TradingView data.

Ether Price Swings Upward After Ethereum Upgrade, but What About the Future?: The price increase addresses the question of whether ether would rise or fall following the completion of the hard fork.

Bitcoin Miner Stocks Continue Torrid Run as $30K Level Holds: Fresh economic data Thursday morning suggested slowing in both inflation and the employment picture.

Exploit Involving Aave and Yearn Helped Users Make Money: The exploiter paid back Aave users’ USDT debts on its v1 markets, making the total USDT borrowed stand at zero.


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James Rubin

James Rubin was CoinDesk's U.S. news editor based on the West Coast.