Upgrades, ESG, DeFi usage to help ether outpace bitcoin: Pantera Capital


FILE PHOTO: Representations of cryptocurrencies Bitcoin and Ethereum are placed on PC motherboard in this illustration taken, June 29, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

(Reuters) - The Ethereum platform's potential applications, lower environmental impact and technical upgrades are likely to help the ether token continue to outperform bitcoin, Pantera Capital CEO Dan Morehead said.

As a more recent token, ether has further to run than bitcoin, Morehead told the Reuters Global Markets Forum on Monday, adding that the latest Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) 1559 upgrade will help it trade more like a fixed asset.

"You'll see a transition of people who want to store wealth, doing it in (ether) rather than just bitcoin," he added.

Scheduled to go live Wednesday, EIP 1559 significantly changes how transactions are processed on the Ethereum blockchain as well as reduces supply of the ether token.

Migration to the upgraded "Ethereum 2.0" will reduce ether's mining energy use compared with bitcoin's large carbon footprint, Morehead said.

The blockchain's use in decentralised finance (DeFi) applications will also support prices, he added.

Ether, the world's second-largest cryptocurrency, has more than doubled its price in 2021 to its Monday close of $2,608, compared with bitcoin's rise of 46% to $39,166.

Ether's market capitalisation was around $306 billion on Monday, less than half of bitcoin's $737 billion, according to tracker CoinGecko.com.

Morehead sees bitcoin ending 2021 between $80,000 and $90,000, and rising above $120,000 within a year. Increased mainstream adoption could push it as high as $700,000 in the next decade, he said.

Despite recent volatility that left bitcoin 40% below its April all-time high of $64,895, Morehead said Pantera Capital's funds have attracted institutional investors who are less "momentum"-oriented than retail investors, and see current prices as a buying opportunity.

He also sees increased regulatory scrutiny, such as a global crackdown on cryptocurrency exchange Binance, as a "transition" phase.

Pantera, which manages $2.8 billion in blockchain-related assets, has invested in several crypto exchanges including Bitstamp, Coinbase,, and regional exchanges such as Mexico-based Bitso.

(This interview was conducted in the Reuters Global Markets Forum, a chat room hosted on the Refinitiv Messenger platform. Join GMF: https://refini.tv/33uoFoQ https://refini.tv/33uoFoQ))

(Reporting by Lisa Pauline Mattackal and Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru; Editing by Divya Chowdhury and Jacqueline Wong)

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