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Given the ongoing blockchain upgrades, Standard Chartered predicts that Ether may reach $8,000 by 2026

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    Despite Ether’s recent lackluster performance, at least one multinational bank estimates that by the end of 2026 the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap could hit an all-time high.

    Ether was trading near a six-month low, just above $1,500 at time of publication, according to CoinGecko, as its overall share of the crypto market has declined two percentage points since January to 17%. (Meanwhile, Bitcoin is approaching 50% market dominance.)

    But British bank Standard Chartered said in a Wednesday note that Ether could go on a tear that sees it reach $8,000. Eventually, the bank predicted, Ether could be worth $26,000 to $35,000 per token.

    “We think the path higher for ETH prices may take longer than for BTC, but we see ETH eventually reaching a higher price multiple than BTC relative to current levels (5.0x versus 3.5x),” Geoff Kendrick, the head of crypto research and EM FX West at Standard Chartered, wrote in the note.

    Crypto market onlookers had hoped that a spate of newly launched Ethereum futures ETFs would boost inflows to the cryptocurrency, but that hasn’t been the case so far. In their first week, six of the futures-based ETFs attracted just $10 million in investment, according to a report by CoinShares. For comparison, the first futures-based Bitcoin ETFs launched in 2021 brought in $1 billion in the first week, although interest in cryptocurrencies was higher then among investors.

    Still, Standard Chartered believes Ether has the potential to explode in value in part due to upgrades scheduled for its underlying blockchain, Ethereum, over the coming years. Last year, the blockchain took a leap forward with its much-hyped Merge update that switched the network to proof of stake from proof of work and reduced its carbon footprint by 99%. The most recent update in April, dubbed Shanghai, allowed validators on the blockchain to withdraw staked Ether.

    The Standard Chartered analysts’ notes mentioned a series of updates that will add “danksharding” to the Ethereum network, helping boost its dominance in DeFi. Danksharding is meant to allow the blockchain to process 100,000 transactions per second.

    A possible rise in the popularity of blockchain gaming and tokenized real-world assets could also boost activity on the Ethereum blockchain, which would in turn increase Ether’s price, the analysts wrote.

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