Ether hit a more than two-month high on signs that a plan to upgrade the Ethereum blockchain passed a major test, potentially paving the way for one of the most significant changes in the cryptocurrency sector.
The token rose as much as 4.1% on Thursday and was trading near $1,878 as of 9 a.m. in London — more than double a June low below $900 and far outpacing the rebound in Bitcoin over the period.
Ether is the native coin of Ethereum — the most important commercial blockchain — and its ride higher atop the optimism surrounding the merge, as the planned network upgrade is known, has become emblematic of the nascent crypto rebound from this year’s painful rout.
The Goerli test conducted late Wednesday New York time was a kind of dress-rehearsal for switching the Ethereum network from proof-of-work to a more energy-efficient proof-of-stake system. The full shift is expected next month.
Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin retweeted a post saying the test had activated proof-of-stake. In another tweet, Tim Beiko, a computer scientist who coordinates Ethereum developers, posted a screenshot suggesting the test of the planned merge had been successful. Kunal Goel, a research analyst at crypto intelligence firm Messari, also said the Goerli test had been passed.
The software upgrade has been in the works for years, and Ethereum’s dominant role as a commercial highway in crypto underlines the sensitivity of the change.
The blockchain supports more than 3,400 active decentralized apps, allowing for everything from gaming to trading. Ether tokens have a $229 billion market value, according to CoinMarketCap.
Ethereum core developers may on Thursday set the date for when the blockchain undergoes the long-anticipated software update.