Cryptoverse: Ether snaps on bitcoin’s heels in the race for the crypto crown

Souvenir tokens representing the cryptocurrency Bitcoin and the Ethereum network, with its native ethereal token, plunge into the water in this illustration taken on May 17, 2022. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration

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Sep 13 (Reuters) – For years, ether could barely dream of taking on his big brother bitcoin. Now, his ambitions may become more realistic.

The second largest cryptocurrency is taking market share from bitcoin ahead of a major software update “Merge” that could drastically reduce the energy consumption of its Ethereum blockchain, if developers succeed in the coming days.

Bitcoin’s dominance, or its share of the market value of the cryptocurrency market, has fallen to 39.1% from this year’s peak of 47.5% in mid-June, according to data platform CoinMarketCap. Ether, on the other hand, rose to 20.5% from 16%.

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The upstart is still far from overtaking bitcoin as the No. 1, a reversal known to fans as “the flippening”. It is an invented ground, however; in January 2021 bitcoin reigned supreme at 72%, while ether occupied a meager 10%.

As for the price, one ether is now worth 0.082 bitcoin, close to the highs of December 2021 and well above the 2022 low of 0.049 in June.

“People now view Ethereum as essentially a safe asset because they’ve seen the success of the network and think it’s not going anywhere,” said Joseph Edwards, chief financial strategy officer at fund management firm Solrise Finance.

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“There is a persistence in how Ethereum is perceived in the crypto ecosystem.”

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CAPRICIOUS CRYPTUS

The merger, which is expected to take place on Thursday after several delays, could lead to wider use of the blockchain, potentially increasing the price of ether, although nothing is certain in a capricious cryptocurrency market. Read more

Ethereum forms the backbone of much of the “Web3” vision of an internet where cryptography takes center stage, fueling applications involving cryptographic derivations such as decentralized finance and non-fungible tokens, although this much publicized dream is not yet realized. .

Bitcoin and ether nearly halved this year due to concerns about oversized interest rate hikes by central banks. However, investors seem to like the merger aspect, with ether up more than 65% since the end of June. Bitcoin barely moved around the same time.

“We will see the attractiveness (of the ether) for some investors concerned about energy consumption,” said Doug Schwenk, CEO of Digital Asset Research, although he warned that the ether still lags far behind bitcoin.

THE KING IS STRONG

The dwindling dominance of bitcoin in the current cryptocurrency bear market is a departure from previous market cycles when investors were selling smaller tokens – “altcoins” – in favor of the more liquid and reliable bitcoin.

Dethroning the king is no easy feat, though.

Bitcoin is still by far the best known cryptocurrency. Traditional investors who have set their foot in the cryptocurrency market since 2020 have tended to turn to bitcoin first, as the most liquid and widely traded token.

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Its market capitalization of $ 427 billion is still more than double the $ 210 billion of Ether, and market participants firmly believe that the original digital currency remains the gold standard in cryptocurrencies due to its limited supply.

Some market players say bitcoin’s hold on the crypto crown is still strong, although it has to accept other contenders. For example, Hugo Xavier, CEO of K2 Trading Partners, said his dominance could improve by up to 50% -60% if the cryptocurrency market turns bullish, but it’s unlikely to hit 70% again.

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Medha Singh and Lisa Pauline Mattuckal reports in Bengaluru; Editing by Tom Wilson and Pravin Char

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