Researchers at Standard Chartered Bank recently claimed that Ether (ETH), the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, could rise to 500% of its current price by the year 2026.
The bank’s bullish prediction follows a similarly optimistic forecast for Bitcoin (BTC), which it claimed could reach $120,000 before 2025.
Why ETH Could Skyrocket
Per a research report published by the bank on Wednesday, Ethereum’s dominance compared to other smart contract platforms combined with upcoming technical upgrades is likely to drive value to its native gas token.
“We think Ethereum’s established dominance in smart contract platforms, along with emerging uses in gaming and tokenization, has the potential to push ETH to the $8,000 level by end-2026 (a 5x multiple from the current price of $1,600),” wrote Geoffrey Kendrick, the bank’s head of forex and crypto research.
Its momentum won’t stop there: Kendrick suspects that the $ 8,000 mark will be just an initial step on the way to its “long-term structural valuation” of $26,000 to $35,000 – a price range established by the bank back in September 2021.
This valuation assumes use cases that have not yet manifested for ETH, though integration in the gaming and tokenization spheres is likely to support their development, the analyst said.
Since 2021, Ethereum has undergone a major upgrade in “The Merge,” which transitioned the network to a proof of stake consensus mechanism in September 2022.
The upgrade only marks the first of five major development milestones, however, all of which are meant to streamline Ethereum data storage, boost scalability, maintain decentralization, and ultimately unlock its potential.
Ethereum’s Forward Outlook
Some of its upcoming upgrades, including “protodank-sharding,” will “help to cement Ethereum’s dominance in the smart contract space, thereby increasing its P/E ratio (if not its earnings) over the next couple of years,” Kendrick said.
Last month, JP Morgan analysts wrote that they were disappointed with Ethereum’s network performance since the Shanghai upgrade back in April, but that protodank-sharding may be a saving grace. Scheduled to take place by the end of this year, the upgrade should increase Ethereum’s transaction throughput and general network performance.
Beyond native network changes, Standard Chartered says ETH’s price may also benefit from the upcoming Bitcoin halving in April. Potential spot ETF approvals for both assets in the United States are equally bullish.
“We pencil this in for late 2024, after the U.S. election,” Kendrick wrote.
Such factors could bring ETH beyond $4000 by the end of 2024, according to the analyst – up 2.5x from today’s price.
In July, the bank predicted that Bitcoin could tap $50,000 by the end of 2023, and $120,000 by the end of 2024. BTC currency trades for $27,089.
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