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Read What Happened as 41,000 WatchedWell, it happened! The Ethereum Merge has happened, and it was a seamless, complete success, much to the relief of the entire Ethereum development team. On a live feed watched by 41,000 people on YouTube, over 100 members of the Ethereum team and Ethereum’s co-founder, Vitalik Buterin, held their collective breath as they watched the network transition from the final Proof of Work block and the words “POS Activated” flashed across the screen, flanked by two symbolic Pandas, signaling the transition to Proof of Stake was complete. Cheers erupted as the live audience watched the merge occur without a hiccup, the culmination of 4 years of work, and 3 years of discussion prior to that. As block after block on the visualizer on screen was completed without interruption, the new Proof of Stake model marched to the completion of its second step, which one Ethereum team member called “Amazing, perfect, fantastic!” It was an incredible accomplishment, considering that the live transition has been described by Justin Drake, a researcher at the Ethereum Foundation, as “… switching out an engine from a running car.” In the subsequent 15 minutes, all appeared to be going according to plan as the team continued to intently watch, and a collective sigh of relief could be felt after several members of the team described the result as “optimal” and agreed it was all they could have hoped for. One developer excitedly stated that a 99.98% power reduction would result from the new Proof of Stake model, promising massive environmental benefits. Buterin came on screen and commented on the live feed, “This is the first step in Ethereum’s big journey toward being a very mature system … we all just need to work hard and do our part to make all of those other things happen. To me the merge just symbolizes probably the difference between early-stage Ethereum and the Ethereum we always wanted early-stage Ethereum to become.” Ethereum now enters a new age of development, making it the world’s second biggest blockchain, and even more secure and sustainable. If you're "crypto-curious", we'd love to help. Visit our website or call at 888-998-COIN to learn more!
Ethereum (ETH) is the second largest cryptocurrency on the market, surpassed in market capitalization only by Bitcoin (BTC), the coin that started it all. Lately, however, Ethereum is the one making the headlines, thanks to the infamous Ethereum merge. The merge is regarded as the biggest crypto event to this date, because it’s going to shift Ethereum from its current blockchain architecture to a much more energy-efficient operational mechanism. This huge change might be a great potential investment opportunity for people looking to profit from holding ETH. The final hurdle has finally been cleared, and the date for this long-awaited event is currently scheduled for September 15th or 16th. Realizing that does not seem definitive, let’s briefly review the reason why, while trying not to get too technical. To put it as simply as possible, developers determined when the Total Terminal Difficulty (TTD) they set is reached, the last proof-of-work block will be mined, and all future blocks will be produced with proof-of-stake. At the current mining rate, estimates are that the TTD will be reached on September 15th or 16th, and possibly sooner if the mining rate speeds up, or possibly later if the mining rate slows down. Let’s take a closer look at the Ethereum merge, and how it might impact the price of Ethereum.
What Does the Ethereum Merge Mean?The Ethereum merge, or Ethereum 2.0, has shaken up the crypto world because it signals a shift in Ethereum’s blockchain architecture. Namely, the Ethereum network will change its Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus mechanism to a completely different mechanism called Proof-of-Stake (PoS). On the day it happens, the Ethereum blockchain’s main chain, known as the Ethereum Mainnet, will merge with the Ethereum Beacon chain and effectively shift Ethereum into a new operational era. The new mechanism will use validator nodes with staked ETH to approve transactions on the Ethereum blockchain. Anyone will be able to become a validator as long as they deposit 32 ETH to start running a node. In the last couple of years, the price of Ether has been fluctuating between 1,500 and 2,500 USD per coin, according to CoinMarketCap, which means that depositing 32 ETH is a considerable amount of money. No one would want to risk losing their 32 ETH by validating a fraudulent transaction, which means that the network can rely on validating nodes for its security.
How the Merge Will Impact the EnvironmentThe Ethereum merge is expected to lower Ethereum energy consumption by 99.9%. Currently, Ethereum and Bitcoin are the largest polluters on the crypto market, because both currencies use the highly energy-consuming PoW consensus mechanism. Instead of heavy mining hardware that consumes enormous amounts of electricity to process the network traffic, with the PoS blockchain mechanism, only network nodes will do the heavy lifting, eliminating the miners altogether.
How the Merge Will Influence the Price of ETHThe merge is a complex technical procedure that involves a lot of computational work on upgrading the Ethereum blockchain. Here’s how the merge might influence the price of ETH.
The Ethereum Development RoadmapA key factor that influences the price of Ethereum is the project’s development roadmap, a plan that outlines the future development of Ethereum and its short-term and long-term goals. A crypto project’s roadmap can attract a huge number of investors and developers if the core development team manages to deliver on their promises. In the case of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, the network’s founder, and his team have updated the network numerous times during the years. As a result, investors feel they can trust the Ethereum ecosystem, knowing there’s an experienced team behind the project with a clear idea about its future development. Ethereum aims to become a super-fast and scalable blockchain network with a high transaction per second capacity and the ability to accommodate tens of thousands of decentralized apps. The merge is just one of Ethereum’s development phases, and judging by the hype surrounding the ETH roadmap, it could result in a price boost.
Technical ConsequencesThe merge will have huge technical consequences on the way Ethereum works. The whole network will shift to a more efficient operational mechanism, which adds more reliability and stability to the network. This basically means that the Ethereum blockchain will gain more operational quality, which will attract more users, developers, and investors. With an influx of new users, the network’s value will grow over time. A high amount of network traffic and a variety of new projects being developed on the Ethereum blockchain will certainly result in a higher market capitalization for ETH overall. Thus, the merge will give Ethereum a competitive edge over other, smaller crypto projects that also use a similar PoS mechanism, because Ethereum simply has a much larger ecosystem and user base.
Media CoverageThe Ethereum Merge is considered the biggest event ever in the crypto world, and numerous mainstream media outlets are carefully covering the event. The largest players on the media scene such as Fortune, Bloomberg, and the New York Times, are all covering the merge with regular updates about the event. Media coverage (both good and bad press) can considerably affect the value of crypto projects by playing on the public sentiment regarding a specific crypto. So far, the merge is covered with a mixed tone, giving space to both merge enthusiasts who think it’s the best thing that can happen to ETH, and to critics who state that the merge might bring more harm than good. The merge critics fear that the Ethereum network will become heavily centralized if a small number of large-scale investors get to control most of the validator nodes, while merge advocates state that the network is safe from such a scenario. The direction in which the media coverage of the merge will go after the event might contribute to the rise or fall of Ethereum’s price.
The Crypto CommunityLast but not least, the crypto community is another factor that can contribute to the price change of ETH after the merge. The community is currently divided between merge enthusiasts and opponents. However, only time will tell who was really right and whose position will prevail in the crypto market. If the merge goes as planned, the merge enthusiasts will probably give a price boost to Ethereum 2.0, but if the merge opponents end up being right, Ethereum might see a downwards price pressure, as well as a boost in the price of Ethereum Classic (ETC).
Ethereum Merge Price PredictionThe price impact of the Ethereum merge is the most important aspect for traders and investors who want to include Ethereum in their Crypto IRAs. The crypto market is known to have a bear market phase where prices considerably drop, as opposed to positive, bull market cycles. However, this doesn’t mean that the price of cryptos such as Ethereum won’t recover. In fact, considering the Ethereum merge news, ETH is probably going to witness new highs during the next bull market cycle. Currently, the ETH merge might provide a price boost to Ethereum, but the real price increase will happen after the current bear market. It’s best to pay attention to Ethereum’s CoinMarketCap page, and closely follow the ETH price action after the merge. As far as Ethereum Classic (ETC) is concerned, the price of ETC might also increase if the current Ethereum miners shift to mining ETC after the merge.
A Few Ending Words…Ethereum is going through an important development period with the upcoming merge event, which will have a huge impact on the future of ETH and its price. Hopefully, this guide will help you decide whether investing in Ethereum in your Crypto IRA is suitable for you. If you wish to learn more about Crypto IRAs and their benefits, don’t hesitate to contact Coin IRA to speak with an expert who can answer all your questions.
Bitcoin v. Ethereum or BothThe cryptocurrency market has been rapidly growing since the launch of Bitcoin as the first digital currency back in 2009. And even though there are more than 20,000 active crypto projects on the market, according to CoinMarketCap, a huge portion of the total market capitalization goes to Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), the two undisputed market leaders. Bitcoin is often called “digital gold,” while Ethereum is considered the main altcoin on the market thanks to its firmly established position, second only to BTC. Let’s have a closer look at these two leading cryptos and find out all the details you need to know about them before deciding whether to invest in a BTC or ETH in your IRA.
Bitcoin (BTC)Bitcoin was the first digital currency in the world. The project was launched back in 2009 by an anonymous developer only known by the pseudonym, Satoshi Nakamoto. Nakamoto first published the Bitcoin whitepaper, where the fundamentals of Bitcoin were laid out -- a peer-to-peer, electronic cash system that allows users to conduct transactions between users with virtual blockchain-based addresses. The idea of virtual cash transactions was so innovative at the time that many financial experts were skeptical regarding Bitcoin’s security, and many people struggled to wrap their minds around the concept. However, with a simple understanding of the blockchain mechanism behind Bitcoin, users quickly started to embrace Bitcoin when they realized how safe it was to conduct BTC transactions. Bitcoin uses a Proof-of-Work (PoW) blockchain mechanism, which relies on independent BTC miners and their powerful computers to check transactions, approve network traffic, and create new blocks on the BTC blockchain. Transactions are visible on the immutable blockchain within minutes, providing proof that the transaction is complete.
Ethereum (ETH)Ethereum is the second-largest cryptocurrency both by trading volume and market capitalization. The Ethereum project was launched in 2015 by a team of dedicated crypto enthusiasts led by a programmer named Vitalik Buterin. At the time of Ethereum’s launch, existing altcoins such as Litecoin (LTC) were mostly copies of Bitcoin, also used as digital cash, but with some updates and occasional improvements. Ethereum was a totally different story, because it wasn’t primarily designed as digital money, although it certainly deserves its status as an investment asset. The success of Ethereum is based in the fact that it is responsible for the creation of smart contracts, which power some of the most important crypto initiatives to date, such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), decentralized finance (DeFi), and decentralized apps (dApps). In addition, Ethereum provides individuals and developers with a blockchain-based framework for launching decentralized applications (dApps), platforms, and crypto projects, without the need for using computing solutions developed by big data companies. By using Ethereum’s open-source, native programming language, Solidity, users can create any type of online platform while hosting it on the blockchain in a decentralized manner.
Key Characteristics of Bitcoin
Digital Cash TransactionsBitcoin was mainly designed to serve as a digital currency for virtual cash transactions between users across the BTC blockchain. Bitcoin transactions, which are secured with PoW blockchain mechanics, make it virtually impossible for someone to hack your transaction. All you need is a crypto wallet, and you’re ready to send BTC to other Bitcoin addresses and receive BTC from an exchange or other BTC wallet holder.
Store of ValueBitcoin is a great store of value thanks to its high value per coin and its leading market position. BTC is a highly volatile asset, just like any other digital currency, but with BTC, you can rest assured that it isn’t going to crumble and crash like some lesser-known altcoins. Bitcoin has a history of huge price swings, but thus far, each market cycle reaches a higher low than the previous market cycle’s low. This means that overall, BTC is trending up, even when the price consolidates and retracts for a couple of weeks or months.
Widespread AdoptionBitcoin is the most widely accepted digital currency in the world. Crypto is still far from full adoption, but the number of businesses, industries, and financial institutions that use or accept Bitcoin is constantly on the rise, which contributes to it value. With its limited supply and increasing demand, Bitcoin’s widespread adoption is another key advantage it has over existing altcoins.
Key Characteristics of Ethereum
Smart ContractsEthereum has introduced a revolutionary concept to the world of crypto called smart contracts. A smart contract is a self-executing piece of programming code designed to automate procedures within online apps and platforms. With the help of smart contracts, developers can create fully automated platforms that would usually require human supervision and extensive maintenance. These contracts are a key component of decentralized apps.
Decentralized AppsSmart contracts are the building blocks of decentralized apps. Instead of using programming resources developed by large, centralized companies, Ethereum introduced the possibility of designing dApps, which are hosted on the ETH blockchain and fully controlled by developers and the crypto community. DApps have numerous use cases and have become a must-have for all contemporary blockchains. The decentralized finance (DeFi) industry, NFT markets, decentralized crypto exchanges, crypto social apps, and gaming platforms are all using dApps and ETH smart contracts.
Ethereum TokensEthereum also enables developers to launch their own digital currencies on the ETH blockchain. There’s no need to launch separate blockchains, as this requires a lot of funds and programming resources. With ETH, users can create their own crypto tokens according to the ERC-20 token standard for launching cryptos. Also, ETH was the first blockchain to introduce non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the market with their ERC-721 token standard, and we are constantly hearing about NFTs and their unique uses in the news.
Similarities and Differences
- Both BTC and ETH run on Proof-of-Work blockchains, but Ethereum is transitioning toward a Proof-of-Stake blockchain architecture, making it far more efficient than BTC in terms of transaction volume and processing time.
- Bitcoin transactions take between 5 and 10 minutes, while ETH transfers usually take up to 5 minutes.
- Bitcoin has a much larger market cap and price per coin than ETH.
- Bitcoin is great for crypto payments since thousands of merchants and businesses worldwide already accept BTC payments.
- Ethereum is more than just digital cash because it’s used as a blockchain development platform, adding more value to ETH. It is Ethereum’s “utility” that has launched it into the #2 spot.
- Both digital currencies represent a more reliable investment than other altcoins.
BTC and ETH PriceBoth BTC and ETH are known for their drastic price fluctuations. BTC started out in 2009 with a value of about a fraction of a US dollar and gradually reached an all-time high of nearly 70,000 USD per coin in late 2021. BTC has since gone through a market correction and dropped down to 20,000 USD, which is still much more than the price bottom of its previous market cycle. Ethereum also started out with a value of less than 1 USD and built its way up to an all-time high of more than 4,500 USD, but since then went through a market correction down to a value closer to 1,600 USD per coin. One of our favorite sites to track the price of both BTC and ETH is through Messari.io, but there are others like CoinMarketCap.
A Few Ending Words…Knowing the basics about BTC and ETH can help you decide whether you should invest your IRA funds into Bitcoin or Ethereum or maybe both. With a self-directed IRA, it's all up to you. If you want to learn more about why you should open a Crypto IRA, the tax benefits, and how your retirement plan can benefit, let Coin IRA, offering Cryptocurrency IRAs since 2017, show you how it works. Visit CoinIRA.com to chat with an IRA expert today, or call us at 888-998-COIN.
It’s been a wild spring for all investors caught by the bearish storm on the crypto market. At least, this downturn inspired a renewed awareness of the cryptocurrency realm and taught us a valuable lesson — only the strongest survive the storm. As it stands already, cryptocurrencies will bounce back sooner than expected, but not all of them. Dubious ventures, pumped market caps, and over-enthusiastic projects will probably never recover from this crisis. At the same time, those who overcome the storm will emerge stronger than ever. But, how can we be sure about this? We can’t. When it comes to the future of cryptocurrency, we can’t be sure about anything. That’s the charm of the fast-changing blockchain game. Nobody could even imagine that Bitcoin would hit $68,000 in November 2021, just as nobody could predict the painful collapse of the top-performing Terra (LUNA). However, based on recent events, we can rely on the universal factor of resilience, something that we blindly neglected while putting trust in every new blockchain project. Interestingly enough, at this point, resilience seems to be the deciding factor when choosing the best options for crypto investments.
What to Consider When Choosing a CryptocurrencyIf the background story of a certain crypto feels unjustified or too good to be true, you should immediately remove it from the list of possible investments. At the same time, you must know your personal purpose for entering the cryptocurrency arena since different types of crypto attract different user styles. In general, crypto assets have achieved the greatest success in the role of a store of value. Yet, there is a growing DeFi world that offers a myriad of trading opportunities and colorful NFT collections on ultimately decentralized platforms. They throw out new crypto tokens every minute, only a few of which live long enough to see the light of day. Also, you can find plenty of sophisticated platforms for trading crypto derivatives and CFDs on high margins. However, if you don’t see yourself as a day trader reading Bollinger Bands with your morning coffee, you don’t need a crypto that serves only as a dynamic speculative asset. Instead, focus on mainstream cryptocurrencies whose value we expect to flourish and stabilize in the years to come.
What Are the Best Cryptocurrencies to Invest In?Even if we know in what direction we’re moving on our crypto path, it can be tough to narrow down the list of most promising investments because of the coin diversity. Based on their proven track record and other market signals, we singled out the following cryptocurrencies as the best “investment deals.''
Bitcoin (BTC)Bitcoin has earned the highest credibility stamp for being the first cryptocurrency that heralded the development of decentralized finance. It was introduced back in 2009 when a pseudonymous developer, Satoshi Nakamoto, published a white paper explaining the principles of a trustless cash system where users can interact financially in a peer-to-peer (P2P) manner. Interestingly, despite the revolutionary narrative, nobody seemed to be interested in intangible money at the beginning. Bitcoin itself was making a way to public recognition, opening room for a $3-trillion-worth industry. However, Bitcoin went a rocky road fixing its teething pains — it faced cyber attacks, dark market scandals, and sharp price ups and downs, only to become a cultural phenomenon in less than a decade after its inception. Today you can buy, sell, and trade Bitcoin in a rather regulated landscape. Its price hasn’t reached considerable stability, but Bitcoin has earned the status of digital gold. Despite the price inconsistency, Bitcoin has never lost its scarcity. Added to the fact that BTC supply is limited to 21 million units, we can expect nothing but a bright future for the most valuable digital asset.
Ethereum (ETH)Ethereum is the second-largest cryptocurrency, standing right next to Bitcoin on all relevant crypto charts. However, while you always see these two cryptocurrencies together on nearly all crypto platforms, Ethereum has different core values from Bitcoin. Namely, Ethereum is designed to be more than just digital money. Its blockchain supports self-executing programs called smart contracts that can be used for building other tokens, NFTs, and decentralized apps (dApps) on top of the Ethereum network. DApps can find applications in many other industries apart from trading cryptocurrency, and because of that, we say that Ethereum’s success lies behind its high utility. To make this decentralized machinery move, the Ethereum blockchain uses its native Ether coin. Unlike Bitcoin, Ether doesn’t have a limited supply to maintain such a level of scarcity, but it can be quite a lucrative investment in the long run. If the world turns decentralized in terms of digital communication, Ether, as the “fueling” asset, will play a crucial role and hence, skyrocket in value. Finally, it’s worth mentioning that the Ethereum blockchain is transitioning to a more efficient and environmentally sustainable consensus algorithm called Proof-of-Stake (PoS), which is expected to have a positive impact on its future development.
Stellar Lumens (XLM)Stellar is a decentralized infrastructure and one of the oldest players on the crypto scene. It was launched in 2014 with a clearly defined purpose — to process cross-border payments fast and efficiently, without excessive costs and delays. The network has its own built-in asset known as Lumens (XLM) that serves a special function in the network. Over time, the XML usability has diversified, and now you can also see the token outside the Stellar network. The holders can use it for global on-chain and off-chain payments, as well as for trading on professional crypto platforms. The real-world utility combined with the years of experience makes XLM promising crypto in the long run. The XLM exchange rate has ranged between $0.1 to $0.7 in its years of existence. Almost all algorithmic price projections signal that the Lumens token will grow in the future. For example, Gov.capital estimates that the XML price will reach $1.81 by 2027.
Litecoin (LTC)Released at the dawn of the crypto era, Litecoin was one of the first Bitcoin competitors. The altcoin was created in 2011 in an effort to provide an improved Bitcoin version by upgrading the system with faster and cheaper transactions. As time went on, Litecoin somehow lost its luster because of the plenty of new crypto projects designed with the same goal — to serve as a flexible payment method. However, Litecoin has something the mass of upstarts don’t — longevity. After several meltdowns that shook the crypto investment ground, investors seem to return to a well-familiar blockchain product that has passed all the tests of time. Finally, Litecoin has always been open to technical upgrades to enhance its overall performance and security.
A Few Ending Words…As you can see, the cryptocurrency industry doesn’t allow us to make an assertive response to all market trends. The list of top-ranked cryptocurrencies has been changing quickly, and therefore, requires caution when devising a long-term investment strategy. Bitcoin is perhaps the only exception to the “rule of inconsistency” in the crypto ecosystem. However, you should take note that its anchored position still doesn’t protect BTC from price fluctuations, and patience may be required for the long term. Despite the risks associated with crypto investments, they’ve demonstrated incredible power to reshape the financial world. Decentralization is definitely here to stay — we just need to carefully choose the right assets to take advantage of it with a winning move. Coin IRA's team is always here to help you on your crypto journey, whether you elect a tax-advantaged Cryptocurrency IRA or an Individual Non-IRA Trading account (or both!). With Coin IRA, you get an experienced company you can trust to provide you with the winning assets at the right price, and the ultimate in security.