Ethereum Up 28% This Month as Dencun Upgrade Nears, Scaling Networks Surge

Ethereum has climbed almost 4% since yesterday at a current price of $2,910 and a staggering 28% since the start of the month—and analysts say there’s reason to believe ETH could go even higher.

At the time of writing, there’s less than a month left before Ethereum developers bring the much-anticipated Dencun upgrade to Ethereum mainnet. The upgrade will bring “proto-danksharding” to the leading proof-of-stake blockchain. It’s a technical improvement that promises to reduce data availability costs and address some key scalability challenges. In short, it’ll make Ethereum faster and cheaper.

There’s also growing optimism that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission could this year approve a spot Etheruem ETF to begin trading. That optimism got a lot more potent after the SEC last month approved 10 different Bitcoin ETFs, which have since seen $3 billion worth of net flows.

One of the main indicators that traders like where ETH is headed: Options and futures contracts. On-chain analytics platform CryptoQuant shared a post from pseudonymous crypto trader Greatest_Trader that suggests that climbing open interest hints at increased confidence among traders.

“However, given the impulsive nature of the recent ascent, traders should exercise caution and consider the potential for sudden liquidation events, which could trigger notable short to mid-term price declines,” they wrote.

Sure enough, there’s currently $10.6 billion worth of open interest in Ethereum futures contracts, according to CoinGlass.

Open interest represents the value of open options and futures contracts for a particular asset. That value has climbed by 6% in the past day alone—and it’s not that far off the $11 billion worth of open interest traders saw during the last big bull run in November 2021. At the time, ETH was trading above $4,800 per coin.

Trading volume is another market indicator that analysts have been watching.

So far this year, Ethereum volumes have tended to pick up when there’s been big news about Bitcoin—notably the approval and subsequent trading of spot Bitcoin ETFs in January.

Over the three-day period after Bitcoin ETFs began trading in the U.S., Ethereum saw $130 billion worth of trading volume, according to CoinGecko data, clearing $40 billion each of those days. The main driver at the time appeared to be optimism that if the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had approved Bitcoin ETFs to trade, then it would be no time before it did the same for pending Ethereum ETFs applications.

More recently, though, volume has slowed down to around $15-25 billion per day, according to CoinGecko.

But things are picking up in other ways. Transaction totals processed by layer-2 scaling networks like Arbitrum, Base, and Optimism have seldom been higher than they are right now. L2Beat, an Ethereum scaling network analytics platform, shows tht they collectively reached 92 transactions per second as of yesterday—which is 6.8 times more than what’s being transacted on Ethereum mainnet.

And all that activity has brought the total value of assets locked on layer-2s to an all-time high of nearly $27 billion, according to L2Beat.

Edited by Andrew Hayward

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