Ethereum (CCC:ETH-USD) fans are likely having a long week, thanks to mounting excitement for the big upgrade that’s coming to the network on Wednesday. The upgrade, a long, long time coming for ETH bulls, is going to start a major shift for the network. As such, it stands to be a major catalyst for ETH crypto prices. So, what is the Altair upgrade? And why does it matter?
The Ethereum network is the most expansive network in the world in terms of offerings and user base. At any given time, there are over half a million active users on Ethereum, with that number reaching as high as over one million at times. As such, it must be able to handle huge amounts of transactions at once. When it can’t accommodate these transactions, users see fees skyrocket like they did in August.
Or, in order to accommodate increased traffic, the network can implement upgrades. In the past, it has done this with innovative upgrades implementing things like sharding, which allowed data to be broken down into smaller pieces. Now, though, the network is gearing up for its most ambitious upgrade yet.
The ETH Crypto Will See a Great Catalyst on Wednesday Via Altair
Ethereum is seeing huge surges in popularity as crypto becomes more ubiquitous and ETH crypto values chase after Bitcoin (CCC:BTC-USD). As such, it must implement changes to help smooth the influx of users. With scrutiny already being made over Ethereum’s proof-of-work algorithm, it already has reason to change it, but an upgrade could also help increase scalability.
Ethereum is in the process of its Merge upgrade. Merge is a gigantic network overhaul, which will replace proof-of-work with a much less energy-intensive proof-of-stake model. The upgrade stands to eliminate one of the harshest criticisms — Ethereum’s rampant energy consumption. Meanwhile, it will allow the network to streamline its transaction process.
The Merge upgrade is a longtime coming, and it’s an ambitious effort. This Wednesday, Oct. 27, investors will get to see the first step in implementing the new technology on chain. That day, Ethereum will be launching its Altair upgrade. Altair is Ethereum’s way of setting the stage for the Merge, as it is described as a “low stakes warm up” upgrade to help usher in the larger change.
For Ethereum users who aren’t validators of transactions, Altair will be unnoticeable. The upgrade will however force node operators to upgrade their clients or risk not being able to participate in the new algorithm; the network is even threatening those who refuse to upgrade with fee penalties.
On the date of publication, Brenden Rearick did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.