Ether Tops $2,000, Highest Since May After Big Upgrade Unlocks Crypto

  • Crypto token ether rose to break through $2,000 Thursday and was trading at an 11-month high Friday.
  • The second-biggest cryptocurrency gained after Ethereum completed long-awaited changes to its network.
  • The “Shanghai” upgrade means ether holders can now withdraw tokens they locked up in return for rewards.

Ethereum’s native token ether has surged to top $2,000 and is trading at an 11-month high after the blockchain network completed a long-awaited upgrade that unlocks some investors’ tokens.

The cryptocurrency’s price jumped 5% Thursday on the previous 24 hours. It was up about 6% early Friday, trading at just over $2,110 at last check.

Its gains came after Ethereum completed a highly-awaited software upgrade, known as “Shanghai” or “Shapella”. Crypto execs and venture investors believe the update could have huge implications for the price of ether, which is the second-largest cryptocurrency according to data from CoinMarketCap.

The network changes allow stakers — who “lock up” a portion of their ether in exchange for financial rewards as a way of contributing to the blockchain network — to start withdrawing their crypto. 

Investors were unable to sell their locked-up tokens before Wednesday’s upgrade, which made it possible to withdraw just over 5% of all 19 million staked ether tokens.

Ether’s two-day rally lifted it above $2,000 for the first time since August late Thursday and it built on those gains early Friday to trade at its highest price level since May 2022.

The token has climbed 76% year-to-date, as demand for digital assets rose thanks to investors’ expectation that the Federal Reserve will soon ease off on its rate-hiking campaign. The banking turmoil after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank has also fueled demand for “safe-haven” alternatives to government-issued currencies.

Ether is still trading 56% below its all-time price of $4,799, which it reached at the peak of the previous crypto bull market in November 2021.

Read more: Ethereum’s highly-anticipated network upgrade is here. Here’s how the change will impact the world’s 2nd-biggest cryptocurrency.

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