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First Bitcoin, now Ethereum. Analysts see four drivers behind an even bigger surge

First Bitcoin, now Ethereum. Analysts see four drivers behind an even bigger surge
Ethereum will benefit from a slew of catalysts over the next few months, analysts told DL News.
  • With the Bitcoin ETF dust settled, analysts are now turning to Ethereum.
  • Several key catalysts could see Ether outperform Bitcoin this next cycle.
  • Onchain activity is already on the rise, specifically for stablecoins built on Ethereum.

The immensely successful launch of Bitcoin spot exchange-traded funds in the US is setting the stage for a new wave of speculation.

This time, it’s all eyes on Ethereum.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has a good chance of approving Ethereum spot ETFs in May, analysts told DL News.

That’s not the second-most valuable cryptocurrency’s only tailwind, either.

SEC’s next ETF hurdle

With Bitcoin ETFs now out of the gate, analysts are turning their attention to Ethereum and its slew of catalysts.

At the top of the list: The SEC might greenlight a slew of Ethereum spot ETFs in May. BlackRock, Fidelity, and other Bitcoin spot ETF issuers have already filed applications to launch such products.

“While the Ethereum ETF isn’t as much of a guaranteed approval as the Bitcoin ETF, the market has now gotten a taste of what to expect when it is approved,” Quinn Thompson, head of capital markets at Maple Finance, told DL News.

Over $10 billion has already flowed into Bitcoin ETFs, excluding Grayscale’s fund, which already existed prior to its conversion into an ETF. The action has helped buttress Bitcoin’s hefty 21% rally since the year’s start.

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“Given Ethereum’s smaller market cap and liquidity, a similar or lesser amount of flows would have an even bigger impact on Ethereum’s price,” said Thompson. “The market will begin to reprice this possibility higher over the next one to two months ahead of more clarity from the SEC.”

Brian Rudick, senior strategist at crypto trading firm GSR, told DL News he saw the odds of Ethereum ETFs being approved at roughly 66%.

“The experts I’m seeing give May approval odds between sub-50% to 70%,” he said. “Almost everyone, however, thinks it’s only a matter of time, since Ethereum futures-based ETFs exist already — if denied in May, the SEC will get sued, and approval moves to 2025.”

Users of the crypto-powered prediction site Polymarket price approval odds at 47%.

The deadline for approval is May 23, says Bloomberg Intelligence ETF analyst James Seyffart. That’s the final deadline for VanEck’s application.

The SEC will likely want to greenlight all applications at the same time, just as it did for Bitcoin spot ETFs.

Seyffart and fellow Bloomberg Intelligence ETF analyst Eric Balchunas said last year that the agency wanted to avoid being a “kingmaker” by approving a fund ahead of others — like when it allowed ProShares to launch its Bitcoin futures ETF before anyone else.

Dencun, EigenLayer and Ethereum’s burn

Ethereum has three other tailwinds, too.

Scheduled for March 13, the Dencun upgrade — designed to enhance scalability and reduce transaction fees on layer 2 solutions — is Ethereum’s most significant upgrade since Shapella, which allowed stakers to finally withdraw their ETH from the network.

“Layer 2s are a vital component of Ethereum’s future success,” CCData research lead Joshua de Vos told DL News. “Improving their scalability and cost-effectiveness is going to enhance the attractiveness of Ethereum compared to competing layer 1s such as Solana.”

The rise of restaking protocols such as EigenLayer is another reason traders may flock to Ethereum, Rudick pointed out.

And stablecoin growth on the network is an indication that activity was ready to pick back up, Thompson argued. Ethereum stablecoin supply is up 4.4% since January 1, from $68 billion to $71 billion, according to DefiLlama data.

Finally, Ethereum’s monetary policy may also play to the bulls. Vigorous onchain activity means the network burns even more Ethereum per transaction. If this destruction outpaces issuance — or how much new Ethereum enters the market — it can create a deflationary dynamic.

Since February 8, for example, there has already been more Ether destroyed than created, per data from ultrasound.money.

“In a bull market where onchain activity is increasing, stablecoin supply growing and user adoption scaling at a higher pace, Ethereum is positioned to outperform Bitcoin given its more levered to economic activity in the crypto ecosystem,” Thompson said.

Crypto market movers

  • Bitcoin is down 0.3% in the last 24 hours and trading for $51,217.
  • Ethereum is trading flat over the same period, now at $2,912.

What we’re reading

Tom Carreras is a markets correspondent at DL News. Got a tip? Reach out at tcarreras@dlnews.com

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