2022 has been a challenging year for the digital asset market as a whole, as prices dropped dramatically, and investors were left struggling as a result. Many decided to sell what remained of their portfolios, convinced that if the market were to drop any further, they would lose even more significant amounts of capital. Unfortunately, their worst predictions were confirmed, and the last two months of 2022 were some of the worst in the history of cryptocurrencies.
However, since the beginning of 2023, things have been looking up. Cryptocurrencies began to recover, with the current Ethereum price at $1,800. While the crypto winter doesn’t seem to have disappeared completely, many investors are convinced that spring is on its way and that their portfolios will feel the change sooner rather than later.
To definitively send that message, it’s important to remember that there are many updates on their way. The constant changes send a clear message that despite the crypto environment taking some harsh blows in 2022, it is far from being ruined and might just come back stronger than ever. Here are some trends that will leave their mark on the Ethereum market, one of the most dynamic cryptocurrency environments, in the upcoming months.
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Over the years, the Ethereum blockchain has hosted numerous upgrades designed to improve its performance and make transactions faster, more efficient, and safer. The Shanghai upgrade, slated for March 2023, is set to be a hard fork update. This refers to a branching of the blockchain network, which occurs when the users cannot agree on the upgrades that should occur within the decentralized ledger.
The Shanghai fork is set to implement EIP-4895, which should introduce lower transaction fees and start the transition toward the proof-of-stake model. The change notably doesn’t include the EIP-4844, which was set to enable the process of sharding, splitting the blockchain into several chains that would make the massive amount of data more easily scalable, improving efficiency and performance.
One of the most noteworthy changes that are set to occur in spring 2023 within the Ethereum blockchain is allowing users to withdraw staked ETH. This is something that traders have been looking forward to for an extended period of time. Finally, it will become possible, and investors are already eager to expand their ventures in this manner.
Validators will be permitted to withdraw Ethereum, which has been staked as far back as December 2020. Currently, roughly 14% of the total quantity of ETH available in circulation is staked, approximately 16 million tokens. This amounts to an estimated value of $26 million.
Theoretically, this change would allow validators to remove their staked ETH from the system. However, analysts are more skeptical and view this drastic outcome as rather unlikely. That’s mainly because Ethereum is a dominant force in decentralized finance with a high staking yield. Following the upgrade, investors will be free to withdraw any staked assets however they wish, meaning they’ll no longer have to worry about locking up significant sums of money, of at least a few tens of thousands of dollars.
And while the upgrade is not far away, well-prepared investors already have a rough idea of how it’ll look. Recently, the Sepolia testnet has managed to conduct a simulation of the Shanghai upgrade, performing successful processing of staked Ethereum. One of the main advantages of the simulation is that it can provide investors with an environment that’s as close to how the Ethereum blockchain will shortly become. This means that traders can try the changes before they are formally introduced.
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This isn’t the first test of this kind to occur before the release of the Shanghai update, but rather the third in a successive series. In early February, a closed testnet was performed on Zhejiang, which allowed only the ETH core developers to run the validators. Compared to the size of the earlier simulations, Sepolia is significantly smaller. There’s another upcoming testnet set to take place in the forthcoming weeks. This one, Goerli’s testing, is the one that will mimic the blockchain most closely, so many investors regard it as the most important of the bunch.
However, others have raised concerns regarding the timing of the upgrades. If the following simulation is placed within three weeks’ time, as the others have been separated so far, it will occur around March 21st. That means that the Shanghai upgrade will be pushed to early April as a result, which would mean that the goals the Ethereum developers have set for March won’t be met in due time.
The Ethereum blockchain is at the forefront of changes in the cryptocurrency environment. It is bound to change even more when the adverse effects of 2022 begin to fade away. Investor behavior is bound to change as the market develops into 2023. Just recently, Ethereum whales have moved a whopping $168.4 million off crypto exchanges. The first investor moved a massive 20,300 ETH, the equivalent of $33.2 million, to an unidentified wallet. One minute later, the same investor performed the same transaction, including the same amount of Ether. Four minutes later, they extracted the same amount of Ethereum again.
Soon after, a second whale also performed two transactions, the first 22,110 ETH, roughly $36 million, and another worth $32.7 million. These two transactions were performed with a larger timespan between them of a few hours. With these changes in mind, there are bound to be different ways in which the market develops, and prices change over the following months.
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While the last year has been quite unfavorable to investors, that’s not to say that 2023 will remain the same. However, it is impossible to accurately predict the exact road Ethereum will take. The best thing to do is to wait and see how the market will change, then act accordingly.