Ethereum (ETH) Sees Modest Gains as Attention Shifts to Istanbul Hard Fork

Ethereum (ETH) extended its recovery on Sunday, as the price crawled back above $190 amid news that developers have finalize several code changes for the next system-wide upgrade scheduled for October.

ETH/USD Price Update

The Ethereum price rallied 2.7% on Sunday to reach $190.51. The modest breakout follows more than two days of mostly lateral moves for the second-largest cryptocurrency.

On Thursday, ether plunged to more than three-month lows as part of a market-wide correction in cryptocurrencies. Ether’s price bottomed at $178.14, according to CoinMarketCap. In stark contrast, the coin’s 90-day high is $361.40.

Ethereum (ETH/USD) looks to break from its mundane trading range. | Source: CoinMarketCap.

Ether was also among the worst-performing cryptocurrencies of the past week. The ETH/USD exchange rate plunged nearly 13% in the week ended Friday.

The ether price also advanced 2.6% against bitcoin on Sunday, but remains in a firmly bearish trend. ETH/BTC is currently valued at 0.01834757. As Hacked previously reported, ether needs to break above 0.03 BTC for there to be any semblance of an altcoin recovery. Whether still justified or not, Ethereum’s performance remains an important proxy for altcoin demand. 

Read: Ethereum’s Catch-Up Game Could Spark the Next Major Crypto Rally

At current values, Ethereum has a total market capitalization of nearly $20.5 billion. It was as high as $25.2 billion in early August.

Istanbul Protocols Approved

Ethereum’s development team has finalized a list of code changes to be implemented in the upcoming Istanbul hard fork. According to the official GitHub page, four Ethereum Improvement Protocols (EIPs) have been approved. Two more have been “tentatively accepted” for the first phase of Istanbul and an additional eight for the second phase.

The Istanbul network upgrade is tentatively scheduled for October, according to Ethereum’s wiki page. Phase 2 is likely to be implemented in the first quarter of 2020.

The much-talked about ProgPow, or Programmatic Proof-of-Work upgrade, won’t be implemented until phase 2. ProgPow was approved by Ethereum developers back in March. Once implemented, it will allow for broader participation in the Ethereum network and “close the mining efficiency gap between GPU and ASIC miners,” according to cryptocurrency exchange OKEx.

The shift to ProgPow is supposed to create a more energy-efficient consensus model that is also less prone to 51% attacks. Such risks could undermine Ethereum’s decentralization and security efforts.

Read: Ethereum Seeks Bitcoin Cash Scaling Solution: Here Are The Other Contenders

Disclaimer: The author owns Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. Charts via CoinMarketCap.

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi