Is Ethereum’s price under pressure? The reasons for ETH’s recent drop

Elisa Campaci

6 min

Ethereum’s price: why ETH is dropping

ETH’s price is going through a crisis, and it may possibly fall below $1,000. The market has been impacted by Celsius’ issues, and the possible delay of Ethereum 2.0

Ethereum’s performance in June leaves no room for optimism, and as of today (the 16th of June), the price is hovering around USD 1100. What is happening to Ethereum? Will the price of ETH go back up? The crypto market has been in a bearish phase ever since the collapse of Terra (LUNA) and UST. Many people have decided to wait for stricter regulations or a bullish market before buying crypto again. In addition, problems with Celsius (a crypto lending platform) and a possible delay in the arrival of The Merge have contributed to this delicate moment, which is affecting Ethereum’s overall performance. Find out what is happening to the crypto market, Celsius and The Merge, and why Ethereum’s price is dropping.

Could Ethereum 2.0’s release be delayed? What is the ‘difficulty bomb’?

Here is the first piece of bad news for Ethereum that may have had an impact on its performance: the ‘difficulty bomb‘ has been postponed. But first; let’s see what is implied by this term.

Ethereum is a proof-of-work blockchain, but it won’t be for much longer. The most anticipated update of all, Ethereum 2.0, will change the consensus mechanism and make it proof-of-stake. According to Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum, and the other developers of the Ethereum Foundation, the update (called The Merge) will improve the performance of the network and decrease the environmental impact of crypto caused by mining.

The ‘difficulty bomb’ is a system that developers have implemented to make ETH mining more difficult and less profitable. This is meant to discourage miners and to convince users to stake their ETH on the Consensus Layer (i.e. the proof-of-stake layer, now still in beta). This system was supposed to make mining counterproductive the day the update was released, but it was postponed. Tim Beiko, Ethereum’s lead developer, said that postponing the difficulty bomb could ease the stress on developers:”… too much pressure puts a strain on development teams, and that’s a situation we want to avoid”.

What can be deduced from this situation is that the delays to the release of Ethereum 2.0 are putting the entire crypto market in trouble. In fact, Ethereum’s overall performance is dropping. This is probably also due to fears that the update will not work and it could cause the entire network to collapse. According to the developers, however, this fear is unfounded, since the testing phases have gone quite well and the code is almost ready to be made public.

DeFi’s largest lending platform, Celsius, is in trouble: is Ethereum’s performance falling because of this?

One of the factors that could have a bearing on the performance of Ethereum and the price of ETH is the difficult time that the lending platform Celsius is facing. Celsius is one of DeFi’s largest centralised platforms for exchanging, borrowing and staking crypto. The platform was well known in the crypto environment because it offered high rewards to users who staked their cryptocurrencies, up to 17% per year.

How does Celsius work? It is a centralised DeFi platform, in essence, an ‘intermediary’ between the user and the world of decentralised finance. Users entrust their cryptos to these platforms, who use them to exploit DeFi’s potential (e.g. through lending, staking or liquidity farming). In return, the platform offers an annual return to users.

This system worked well when the crypto market was bullish, but now Celsius seems to be struggling. On the 12th of June, the platform was forced to halt all operations, probably because it found itself unable to pay its users back. If that were the case, the halting of Celsius’ operations could prove to be a blow to the entire crypto community. However, the platform has announced that it still has a good amount of BTC in its reserves that it can sell to repay debts. The issue is, Bitcoin sell-off would put Satoshi Nakamoto’s crypto even further into crisis. Bitcoin is already dangerously close to the $20,000 mark. If this were to happen, it is possible that the price of Ethereum would also be affected.

The price of Ethereum in the first 6 months of 2022

This first half of 2022 proved to be full of surprises for the traditional market and also for the crypto market. Ethereum’s performance in particular has been mixed, although the first week of 2022 proved to be positive for Buterin’s crypto. In fact, at the beginning of the year, Ethereum’s price structure was even more solid than Bitcoin’s, holding firmly at around $3,700.

The first difficulties occurred around mid-January, when Russia announced that crypto would be regulated or, worse, banned. On that occasion, the price of Ethereum fell, reaching a low of USD 2160. And just as it was trying to rise again, a second blow, the escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian war in mid-February dashed the hopes of all Ethereum enthusiasts, sending the price of ETH back to around USD 2150.

Signs of an upturn only returned around the beginning of April. On the 5th April, the price of Ethereum reached USD 3520, only to fall to a resistance threshold of 3200. The threshold was quickly broken, however, and Ethereum began a downward trend along with the rest of the crypto market. It was precisely in these ominous market conditions that the collapse of Terra (LUNA) took place, which shook the market terribly. The price of Ethereum reached a low of 1966 dollars! The last time ETH was trading at less than two thousand dollars? the 21st of July 2021.

Over the past few days, the price of Ethereum has continued to drop precipitously, and on the 15th of June it came perilously close to three digits, trading for $1030. In all of this, Ethereum miners are preparing for the transition to proof-of-stake, selecting new shores to migrate to.

The Ethereum mining industry, currently worth $19 billion, has been struggling for some time. In May, for example, revenues from mining activities fell by 27%. The average price of gas fees for transactions on Ethereum also fell. While this is positive news, it also means that there is less interest in Ethereum. Perhaps users are waiting for The Merge to happen before they start using Buterin’s blockchain again.

The crypto market is not the most prosperous at the moment, and the price of Ethereum is falling. But the reasons are not only to be found within Ethereum, as The Merge update is proceeding smoothly. Despite this, Ethereum’s psychological threshold of one thousand dollars has come close. Will Ethereum’s price be able to recover and return to its ATH of 4878 dollars? Especially during a bearish market, always remember the old adage of the crypto world: DYOR!

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