The Istanbul hard fork is set to happen on Ethereum’s mainnet live network on December 6th or 7th, depending on the block times, which judging by the testnet earlier in September will be a contentious hard fork – probably resulting in two chains competing for hash power. Will ETH be able to stand the heat and rise higher or will the community cause a downfall to price similar to the Bitcoin Cash split?
The Istanbul upgrade
Before going any further on how a contentious hardfork will impact the price of ETH, it is important to understand what the hard fork is and its impact on the network. First, the Istanbul hard fork is a planned upgrade on Ethereum protocol implementing EIPs1 to increase transaction speeds on the network, switch to the ProgPoW and solve scaling challenges.
“The Istanbul Hard fork is packed with 28 EIP’s or Ethereum Improvement Proposals.”
While the Ethereum community remains focused on the fork coming up next week, a sour and contentious hard fork may play out a worst case scenario for the value of ETH as miners and developers are yet to agree on the way forward.
A blessing or a curse to ETH/USD?
As is with any contentious fork, token holders usualy rush to stock their bags in preparness for the fork that may see new coins added as the blockchain splits. The trend seems to be no different this time despite the price of ETH remaining well below the October highs at $180 USD. The recent short uptrend seen on the daily charts shows the ETH perma bulls interest as they take up positions awaiting the fork.
The protocol upgrade however remains a tough issue for both parties in the community as some of the improvements suggested divide the community, which may cause a negative impact on the market following the fork. With the price of ETH currently at $152, having bounced off support at $132 USD, and volumes gradually reducing, bulls may be caught in a bull trap that may push the prices of ETH lower once the fork happens.