Ether (ETH), the cryptocurrency that powers the layer-1 smart-contract-enabled Ethereum blockchain, is rising in tandem with the broader crypto market on Monday and was last up around 3% over the past 24 hours, as per CoinGecko.
The cryptocurrency’s latest rally has seen it reclaim a market cap of $200 billion, with the ETH price last around $1,680, more than 10% up from earlier monthly lows.
Ethereum remains by far the most widely used and trusted smart-contract-enabled blockchain in the crypto space.
Ether Has Been Lagging Bitcoin
While Ether has been rallying as of late in tandem with the broader market amid optimism about upcoming spot Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) approvals in the US, ETH remains a big relative underperformer when compared to Bitcoin, both this year and in recent weeks.
Where Bitcoin is up around 16% in the last 30 days and nearly 80% this year, Ether is up a more modest 6% in the past 30 days, and a much more conservative 34% this year.
This divergence in performance could partially be explained by Bitcoin-specific fundamentals, like optimism about upcoming spot Bitcoin ETFs, the fact that Bitcoin appears to be the safest cryptocurrency from regulatory risk (no major regulators are trying to claim it’s a security), and general safe-haven demand for Bitcoin.
Ether’s “Weak” Fundamentals
But some of Ether’s relative weakness can likely be explained by “weak” fundamentals relating to the cryptocurrency.
For instance, demand for the recently launched Ether futures ETFs in the US was very weak, suggesting limited institutional interest.
That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given that spot Ether trading volumes on major cryptocurrency exchanges remain at around their weakest since late 2020 as per The Block, back when the Ether price was in the hundreds of dollars.
In recent weeks, the ETH burn rate has fallen below the cryptocurrency’s issuance rate, meaning that the Ether supply has at times become inflationary once again.
Since the end of August, the ETH supply has subsequently risen by just over 100,000 to just above 120 million, reducing the token’s scarcity and weighing on its value.
On-chain weakness, and the overall seemingly subdued demand for Ether, is further evident in the stagnation of the blockchain’s TVL.
As per DeFi Llama, Ethereum’s TVL has been in a downtrend since peaking in April at around $70 billion, and, at around $48 billion, remains well below its early 2022 all-time peak above $200 billion.
Rising interest rates on risk-free US government bonds probably explain this stagnation – why buy highly volatile staked Ether derivatives for a yield of less than 4% when you can get a yield of over 5% on risk-free US government bonds?
High US (and other) government bond yields will remain a key headwind to the health and growth of Ethereum’s DeFi ecosystem.
Price Prediction – What’s Next for Ether (ETH)?
All that being said, Ether price predictions could be about to take a substantial turn for the better if the cryptocurrency is able to break above key resistance at the $1,700 level.
ETH is currently facing headwinds in this area from a downtrend from the July highs and from the 100DMA.
But should Ether break above this level, a run higher towards the 200DMA just under $1,800 level is likely, with a break above this area opening the door to a run higher towards the summer highs just above $2,000.
With the broader market rallying, led by Bitcoin, Ether will likely continue to pull higher in the weeks ahead.
Will it be able to outperform Bitcoin, however? Probably not.
Ether’s outperformance probably won’t become a major narrative again until its aforementioned weak fundamentals (on-chain activity, TVL) start seeing solid improvements.
Crypto Alternative to Consider – Bitcoin Minetrix ($BTCMTX)
The outlook for blue-chip crypto markets is good, but traders should always be on the lookout for diversification opportunities.
An exciting new decentralized Bitcoin mining protocol called Bitcoin Minetrix is generating a lot of hype, and has already raised over $2.1 million in funds from early investors into its $BTCMTX token presale.
$BTCMTX is the token that powers the protocol – investors who buy $BTCMTX can then stake their tokens to start earning non-transferable Bitcoin Minetrix mining credits.
These credits can then be burnt by their owners, and in exchange, they will get a share in Bitcoin Minetrix’s Bitcoin mining revenues.
$BTCMTX token holders will also earn $BTCMTX rewards, with a portion of the token supply already set aside to reward early stakers.
Bitcoin Minetrix’s protocol is governor by smart contracts built on top of the decentralized Ethereum blockchain, which is also where its token is issued.
The protocol thus offers better transparency and security versus other centralized cloud mining services.