Ether (ETH/USD) logged impressive gains on Friday and continued higher over the weekend, as prices broke out of a long sideways channel ahead of a planned fork of the Ethereum network.
Ether Jumps to $340
Ethereum prices reached a weekend high of $346.63, according to CoinDesk. That represents a gain of nearly 15% from Friday’s low near $301.00. It was also the highest level since early September, just before the China-induced market crash.
The ETH/USD was last seen trading below $340.00, where it is considered strongly bullish according to the 14-period Relative Strength Index (RSI). The MACD is also pushing into positive territory, signaling continued upside momentum.
Price action is strengthening, with ether continuing to trade well above the 100-day moving average. In fact, all major moving averages are perfectly aligned below the other, which is a definite signal for the bulls.
Ether’s market cap has moved above $32 billion, second only to bitcoin’s $97 billion. The outlook for ETH/USD remains favorable insofar as prices continue to trade above $315.00 – a level that proved challenging to penetrate following last month’s flash crash.
The critical support level for ETH remains $300.00. On the opposite side of the ledger, the token faces a significant resistance line at $380.00.
Byzantium Hard Fork Nears
October is fork season for the Ethereum network. The Byzantium upgrade, which is part of the broader Metropolis project, is due at block 4,370,000. For those of us following the Gregorian calendar, that’s likely to occur on Oct. 15 or 16. There are nine Ethereum Improvement Protocols (EIPs) slated to take effect once the fork is complete.
Ethereum’s core developers are optimistic that clients will upgrade to the new protocol uniformly. Geth, the network’s most popular client, has already performed the upgrade. (Geth also had to quickly de-bug a DOS attack on Saturday, which appears to have gone smoothly.)
Although the network has been very careful in conducting upgrades, an emergency fork last year resulted in an unintended chain split. As a result, Ethereum Classic came into existence. Both cryptocurrencies are identical up to block 1,920,000, where the split occurred.
The developer community doesn’t expect any risky business with Byzantium. A smooth transition could provide greater assurance ahead of Constantinople, which is the next leg in the Metropolis upgrade. No timetable has been provided on when Constantinople will be implemented.
Developer optimism isn’t the only support Ethereum has received in recent days. Bitcoin’s record-setting rally has been a major boom to the entire cryptocurrency market, which is now collectively valued at $176 billion. As we’ve seen before, when bitcoin rises, others soon follow.
For the bitcoin community, hard forks are something to fret about. That’s not the case for Ethereum. For ether, hard forks typically boost prices because of the positive impacts they have on the development community. According to Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, the real danger lies in the soft fork. They become even more dangerous when miners start fighting back.
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