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Ethereum Price Holds Above $1,800 As The “Shapella” Upgrade Goes Live Today

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Ethereum price has the crypto community on edge as the much-anticipated Shapella upgrade finally goes live today, April 12, at 22:27:35 UTC. Traders and analysts are divided over the possible impact of the upgrade on both the network and ETH price. 

The Ethereum price is trading in a second straight bearish session ahead of the event, leaving many wondering whether the “sell-the-news scenario” will play out post-Shapella or it will turn out to be a non-event. 

Shanghai And Capella Upgrades To Make Ethereum More Scalable

The Ethereum Shanghai and Capella network upgrade, which has been named “Shapella”, is scheduled to go live today at 10.27 PM UTC. The upgrade will enable holders to withdraw their staked Ether (stETH) through the “Beacon Chain,” a platform that was used to support the Merge when Ethereum transitioned from the proof-of-work (Pow) to proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. 

As the countdown goes into the last hours, speculation about its potential impacts continues to grow in the market. 

For example, Glassnode – an on-chain data analytics firm, has predicted that a little less than 1% (170,000 Ether) of the total 18.1 million ETH staked on the Beacon Chain would be sold after the Shanghai upgrade.

This comprises 100,000 ETH (worth $190 million at current rates) of staking rewards and 70,000 Ether ($133 million)  of staked tokens, according to Glassnode’s April 11 report. 

Backing up its prediction, the on-chain analytics platform explained that only 253 validators had signed up to fully leave their stETH positions. Moreover, a number of mechanisms had been put in place to prevent a large supply of ETH from hitting the market at once. 

The 253 existing depositors own a total of 1,229 validators, while another 214 slashed validators will be forced out as soon as Shanghai is activated on Ethereum. Shanghai will introduce notable improvements to users upon the launching of the hard fork. In comparison to the Merge in September 2022, this development will be much bigger and will include making staked Ether available for withdrawal.

Glassnode is, however, confident that the upgrade will not have any “dramatic” effect on the Ethereum price action stating: 

Even in the extreme case where the maximum amount of rewards and stake are withdrawn and sold, the sell-side volume still falls within the range of the average weekly exchange inflow volume.

Fidelity Investments, a global financial firm, shares similar views with Glassnode that Shapella will not have any major impact on the ETH price. In its recent Review of the Shanghai/Capella Upgrade, it said that the “selling pressure will be muted due to the likelihood of partial withdrawals being re-staked as well as the length of time the withdrawals will take.”

Since the Beacon Chain went live in December 2020, serving as a consensus layer for the Ethereum network, anyone seeking to become a validator had to stake at least 32 ETH in the arrangement. This means that approximately 10% of the total ETH supply is locked in the consensus layer deposit smart contract. The Shanghai upgrade will solve that problem immediately when it goes live later today.

The unlocking of staked Ether will be enabled by Ethereum Improvement Proposal-4895 (EIP-4895). Of the five EIPs that will be activated by Shanghai, it is by far the most anticipated one, as it will move the Ethereum blockchain one step closer to becoming a fully functional proof-of-stake network.

Impact of The Shapella Upgrade On Ethereum Price

Uncertainty around the upgrade has contributed to the recent volatility in the crypto market, delivering a moderate impact in the derivatives markets. For example, Ethereum open interest has increased by $400 million since the beginning of April. Nevertheless, Bitcoin continues to dominate market headlines, with open interest rising faster than those of ETH on April 10 with prices hitting their highest levels in 10 months, setting new highs for 2023.

It remains unclear how many stETH holders will be looking to cash out once the Ether is unlocked. Nevertheless, the token’s value has declined significantly over the years right from when staking was initiated. ETH soared as the popularity of the staking feature grew among institutional and retail investors alike before plunging in 2022.

At the time of writing, Ethereum was trading in a second straight bearish session on the daily timeframe. Both the Relative Strength Index (RSI) and the Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD) indicator were turning down. This showed that the bears may be re-entering the market, determined to turn the Upgrade into a “sell-the-news” event. 

If this happens, Ethereum may drop from the current levels and drop below the $1,800 psychological level to tag the 50-day Simple moving average at $1,713 and later the $1,700 support level. Below that, ETH may decline further to revisit the 100-day SMA at $1,628, and the $1,600 psychological level before eventually reaching the $1,460 defence line, embraced by the 200-day SMA. 

ETH/USD Daily Chart

Ethereum Price Chart
TradingView Chart: ETH/USD

On the other hand, the technical setup of the ETH price on the daily timeframe shows that the upside is not over for the second most popular cryptocurrency. The Ether’s recent price action is similar to the one displayed between July 22 and August 13 when ETH bounced off the $1,420 support food to set a swing high at above $2,000. 

Therefore, if history repeats itself, the price of the smart contracts token could rise from the current levels to reach the same levels as the one described above. This would represent an 8.33% ascent from the current price. 

Ether’s bullish outlook was supported by a number of technical indicators. To begin with, the moving averages were facing upward, an indication that the market conditions still favored the upside. In addition, these moving averages were moving below the price, suggesting that Ethereum sat on strong support downward and that demand pressure from these regions was likely to propel the price higher.

Moreover, the RSI was moving within the positive region above the midline. The value of this trend-following indicator at 58 suggested that there were more buyers than sellers in the market. 

Furthermore, the MACD was also positioned in the positive region above the neutral line. Note that the call to buy Ethereum which was sent on April 9 when the 12-day Exponential Moving Average (EMA) crossed above the 26-day EMA was still in play, adding credence to the bullish outlook. 

The strength of Ethereum’s price ahead of the Shanghai and Capella upgrades is clear on price action supported by the above technical indicators. With only hours to the event, traders expect continued volatility in ETH price.

Ethereum Price Alternatives

It is anticipated that the Shapella Ethereum upgrade will attract more investors to purchase ETH, with hopes of capitalizing on the gains to $2,000 and possible moves above $3,000. Nevertheless, investors may want to explore some of the best altcoins with promising returns for optimal portfolio diversification opportunities.

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