Investors Bullish on Ethereum Ahead of Looming Altair Upgrade

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  • Altair upgrade, which represents a “low stakes warm-up” to the upcoming merge, is slated to go online on Wednesday, October 27.
  • Experts believe this update might further fuel Ethereum’s price surge.
  • Ethereum recently charged to a new all-time high of around $4,360 but was followed by a steep pullback.

Less than three months after the London Hardfork went into effect, Ethereum blockchain’s core developers are embarking on yet another upgrade.

Altair, which represents a “low stakes warm-up” to the upcoming transition from the proof-of-work (PoW) to the proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, is slated to go online on Wednesday, October 27. Altair is the first time the Beacon Chain is upgraded on the main network.

Pooja Ranjan, who chairs a decentralized group of project managers known as the Ethereum Cat Herders, claims Altair might be “the only upgrade to the beacon chain before Ethereum switches to proof of stake.” In an interview with Decrypt, she argued that while this upgrade isn’t a merge, it is still important for those running validator nodes.

As of now, those who commit ETH to stake and validate the Beacon Chain are not able to withdraw it. “After the merge, there will be a complete switch of consensus mechanism from ‘proof of work’ to ‘proof of stake. With a later upgrade in 2022, users may be able to withdraw funds,” Ranjan said.

Investors Bullish on Ethereum

On October 21, ETH’s price crested to a new all-time high of around $4,360 amid a soaring crypto market. However, the new price peak was followed by a steep pullback as the ETH price plunged by around 4% in less than an hour. But industry experts believe Ethereum might even “outperform” Bitcoin as it is attracting investor attention.

“With rumors of Ethereum ETFs possibly coming, many investors are getting exposure to ETH before any announcement,” said Justin d’Anethan, sales manager at the crypto company EQONEX. “From a cyclicality perspective, it also stands to reason that with BTC breaking new highs, ETH would gain as well — and maybe at some point outperform.”

Justin added that the ETH balance on centralized crypto exchanges is at a two-year low, while the Altair upgrade is set to go into effect this week. He said these two factors might further fuel Ethereun’s surge. He stated:

The Altair Beacon Chain upgrade, the first upgrade of Ethereum’s transition to proof-of-stake (PoS), is expected on Oct. 27 and may give ETH even more momentum on its upward trajectory.

Not Everyone Is Happy About EIP-1559

The EIP-1559 update, which was part of the London upgrade, changed Ethereum’s fee mechanism and added an element of deflation to it. While EIP-1559 promised to make Ethereum’s fee mechanism more efficient, some experts believe it was a disappointment.

Anett Rolikov, an Ethereum core member, argues EIP-1559 has only worsened the ETH fees problem. Indeed, for the last couple of weeks, Ethereum transaction fees have been insanely high. While there were periods of low gas fees, the average transaction fees have been well over $30. Rolikov said:

It’s very controversial even for me, kind of an Ethereum core member. Ethereum became so unusable. I mean it’s usable for people who can afford such high gas fees.