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Ethereum ETF: Another Game Changer for Crypto Markets

Ethereum ETF: Another Game Changer for Crypto Markets

Understanding the Ethereum ETF Approval: Why it Matters for Investors and Its Market Effects

Two bullish developments for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies this week: first, Donald Trump, who is currently the favourite to be the next US President, declared, 'I am very positive and open-minded towards cryptocurrency companies and all things related to this new and burgeoning industry. Our country must be the leader in the field; there is no second place.'

Those words will have been written for him, but they nevertheless show that policies, should he win the election, as currently looks likely, will be favourable. That has to be good for the sector.

Second the Ethereum ETF got green lit this week in the US, so today we consider the implications of that, and give our outlook on the sector more generally.

First up, ether has rallied. It’s risen by about a third from $2,900 a coin to within spitting distance of $4,000.

I must confess to being somewhat flummoxed by Ethereum. (If you want to read my guide, it is here). Briefly: its founding principle is to use blockchain technology for purposes beyond an alternative system of digital money. Known as "the world's programmable blockchain," it can be used to “codify, decentralize, secure, and trade just about anything.” Charlie Morris of Byte Tree likens it to a decentralized App Store (you should all read his letter by the way). Developers can use the platform to build and publish smart contracts and distributed applications (dApps), and it is a kind of marketplace for financial services (DeFi), NFTs (non-fungible tokens), games, and apps, all of which can be paid for in ether.

The Bitcoin maximalists don’t like it. Ethereum is not properly decentralized. The numerous forks that have taken place in reaction to hacks prove this—they would not be possible with a properly decentralised platform. Too many coins were pre-mined and handed out to founders. Ethereum 2.0 met with delay after delay. Transaction costs, known as gas fees, can get exorbitant. Its blockchain is not that robust. In short, it’s something of a ticking time bomb.

Well, maybe. But its founder, Vitalik Buterin, a billionaire many times over by the time he was 28 (just in case you weren’t feeling inadequate enough already this morning), will know all this. He is a genius, and I satisfy myself that by owning Ethereum, I am effectively long Buterin—not unlike being long Elon Musk by owning Tesla.

Ethereum also has numerous competitors—not least Solana, but also Binance Smart Chain, Polkadot, Cardano, Terra, and Fantom - which may or may not be a good thing. Many of these are technologically superior, say critics—faster, more robust.

Price-wise ethereum been something of a laggard. Its all-time high was $4,800 and it’s about a thousand bucks, or 20%, below that. That said, it does tend to move later in bull markets - and by more.

TradingView chart
Unlike bitcoin, ether is still some way 20% from its all-time highs

But despite all of this, Ethereum remains by some margin the number two cryptocurrency by market cap—at $465 billion—followed by Tether, which has another purpose altogether ($110 bn), then Binance Coin ($89 bn). By way of comparison, HSBC has a market cap of $165 bn. And you thought crypto was a passing fad.

So what can we expect with the launch of this new ETF?

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The Flying Frisby
The Flying Frisby - money, markets and more
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