Ethereum’s London upgrade has activated on the network, going live at block #12965000 at approximately 8:33 p.m. Thursday Hong Kong Standard Time. Ether’s price surged in the hours before the update and trading volume spiked globally.
Ethereum’s price shot up further as the London upgrade went live, with Ether rising from around US$2,580 to peak at US$2840 at the start of the Asian trading day this morning.
The London upgrade sees the rollout of five new Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs), or code upgrades that aim to improve Ethereum’s scalability, user experience and value proposition — EIPs 1559, 3554, 3529, 3198, and 3541.
EIP 1559 is perhaps the most significant upgrade implemented during the London upgrade as it will alter the way its transactions are processed, how miners are compensated and the supply of Ether tokens on the Ethereum blockchain.
Through EIP 1559, users will have much clearer pricing on their transaction fees that are paid in Ether and then ”burned” — intentionally destroyed — which will reduce the supply of Ethereum’s native cryptocurrency. The destruction of these tokens is considered to be the catalyst for trader’s surging interest as it will add scarcity in the supply of Ether and is expected to drive up the token’s price.
ETH trading volume surges
The London upgrade and the effects of EIP 1559 has captured the attention of the entire cryptocurrency market and has brought Ethereum to the forefront of the blockchain sector, which in turn has driven Ether prices higher.
Over the last 24 hours, Ethereum’s trading volume has soared across all major exchanges according to data from Messari.io.
“What we observed at AAX exchange is that the trading volume and trading users started to pick up at around 4:00 p.m. yesterday as the Ethereum London upgrade approached, and it reached its peak at around 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. Hong Kong time, the trader numbers and the trading volume nearly doubled from the previous days trading,” said Toya Zhang, chief operating officer at Asia-based AAX crypto exchange, in an interview with Forkast.News.
Justin d’Anethan, Head of global exchange sales at Eqonex, a digital assets firm, sees this increased volume as “a natural result” of the surging Ether prices.
“Rising ETH prices leads to increased volume on ETH-related pairs. People are looking at it more closely, placing bets one way or the other, trying to optimize their holdings or just rebalance,” said d’Anethan in an interview with Forkast.News. “The hard fork is also getting a lot of people’s attention and some people that might not have looked at Ether now might and, with increased activity and capital, you’ll see some institutional players more eager to get involved.”
Will Ethereum’s rise reduce Bitcoin’s dominance?
This year, Ethereum has been making huge strides toward challenging Bitcoin’s market dominance. On Jan. 1 this year, Bitcoin’s market dominance was 71%, far above Ethereum’s 10%. Today, however, the smart-contract blockchain now has 18.9% of the entire crypto market, compared to Bitcoin’s 44.2%.
Ethereum currently has 42% of the market cap of Bitcoin, which on the face of it may not seem that impressive. But while Bitcoin development has generally stagnated and BTC is seen largely as a store of wealth, Ethereum has evolved into what its proponents say could be the backbone of the future internet. A successful rollout of the London hard fork could see the gap narrow even further.
“Shares of Grayscale Ethereum Trust have outperformed Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust by a margin of 5 to 1 this year,” Ben Emons, managing director global macro strategy at Medley Global Advisor, told Forkast.News in an interview. “It could indicate that markets see the next generation of blockchain being dominated by Ethereum as the most viable technology to issue and trade securities that can transform liquidity throughout the financial system.”
With Ether’s newfound scarcity, and enhanced usability of its network, analysts say the market dominance gap between Bitcoin and Ethereum could narrow further, though only time will tell as to when and by how much.
Ether is trading at US$2,770 as of publishing time, down slightly from its peak this morning and Ethereum has a market cap of US$322,562,252,582 according to data from CoinGecko.