Ethereum (ETH) Price Predictions – What Experts Think About Shapella, the SEC and LSDs

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Finder’s panel of 32 experts predict ETH will peak at $2,758 in 2023 and that the next big battle is with the SEC.

Ethereum has just completed another major milestone, with the Shapella upgrade going live earlier this month. 

Shapella enables the withdrawal of ETH from the Beacon Chain. This means that large amounts of Ether could potentially be withdrawn and sold off. This has led to intense speculation about what will happen to the price of ETH now that Shapella is live. 

To help get a clearer picture, Finder surveyed a panel of 32 industry experts who gave their predictions of where the price of ETH will go next.

Ethereum Price Predictions: Experts disagree on Shapella 

Our panelists have been split over what effect Shapella will have on price. 

On average, the panel expects ETH to peak at $2,758 in 2023, before dropping to finish the year at around $2,342.

Nearly one-third 29% think there will be a major sell-off of ETH following the upgrade.

The key concern is that more than 18 million ETH worth approximately US$36 billion can now be unstaked and sold off by validators – if they want to. 

Nicole DeCicco, CEO of CryptoConsultz believes that there could be significant volatility for the price of ETH in the short term, arguing that:

“There’s no debating the fact the upgrade will dump huge sums of ETH into the market freeing up ETH that’s been locked up through staking protocols. Assuming this is a non-event is akin to putting one’s head in the sandbox, pun intended. What these long-term investors plan to do with that ETH in the short term remains unknown but I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a negative impact on the price of ETH for those with a short-sighted outlook.”

So far Nicole’s prediction has rung true, with ETH climbing 15% immediately following the upgrade only to crash back down by 13% a week later. 

But it doesn’t look like the reason for this is due to un-staking.

The amount of staked Ether has actually increased since Shapella went live on April 12.

According to data from Nansen, the amount of staked Ether increased from 18.1 million on April 12 to 19 million by April 21.  

According to head of trading at Wirex, Yves Renno, this dip could actually be a buying opportunity for investors.

“If a sell-off happens around the Shapella upgrade, due to unlocked Ether being sold, or simply profit taking, then we could have some very interesting entry points on ETH/BTC. I believe a price @ 0.055 (BTC) is a good opportunity to diversify a 100% BTC position.”

Renno expects ETH could reach as high as US$3,500 by the end of the year. 

It seems the bulk of the panel agrees with Renno, with 53% believing that ETH is worth buying around the $1,900 mark, and 40% believing it’s cheap at this price. 

This is hardly a surprise, given the panelists expect a strong growth-trajectory for Ethereum

“An ever-expanding use case for thousands of projects, Ethereum will continue the march toward being the backbone of the future of the internet,” says Joseph Raczynski of the Washington Web3 Foundation.

On average, the panel expects ETH will be worth $5,491 by 2025 but also acknowledges there are some considerable hurdles that will have to be cleared before then. 

Predictions: The SEC and Ethereum

The SEC – led by Gary Gensler – currently has cryptocurrency squarely in its sights, and Ethereum could be next. 

There is increasing concern amongst experts that the SEC could rule the ETH asset as a security. 

Some experts believe that the changes brought forth by Shapella and the Merge may have jeopardized ETH’s status in the eyes of the SEC.

50% of Finder’s expert panel believes that ETH will be put under closer scrutiny as a result of the recent upgrades. 

“… there’s a high risk that Ethereum could be classified as a security by the SEC, because Ethereum investors are effectively betting on the future performance of the developers.” says Ruadhan O, creator of Seasonal Tokens. 

Aaron Rafferty, CEO of StandardDAO, thinks it was the transition to proof-of-stake that may have changed things in the eyes of the SEC, noting that, “regulations around staking on the side of the SEC also adds to damper price.”

Last week Gary Gensler testified in front of the United States House Financial Services Committee. When questioned on the topic, he refused to answer whether or not ETH was a security, adding further uncertainty to the asset’s regulatory future in the US. 

Predictions: Liquid Staking Derivatives (LSDs)

Liquid staking derivatives (LSDs) are the hot new buzzword on the block. 

They refer to tokens like stETH or cbETH which are issued 1:1 in return for Ether that is staked through protocols like Lido and Rocket Pool or exchanges like Coinbase and Binance. 

Essentially they are an IOU for your staked ETH, intended to maintain the same value as ETH and can be easily traded or used in DeFi markets, essentially allowing stakers to enjoy the liquidity and value of their ETH while it is staked.  

They are a big deal because they encourage users to stake their ETH and earn yield, all the while increasing DeFi activity and liquidity on Ethereum. This helps reduce the overall supply of ETH and makes the asset more scarce, which is typically a good thing for price. 

21% of Finder’s panel expect there will be “a major increase” in LSDs following the Shapella upgrade. 

LSDs also present new investment opportunities. 29% of the panel believes that the DAO tokens of LSD providers will increase in price following the Shapella upgrade. These include tokens like Lido (LDO), Rocket Pool (RPL) and StakeWise (SWISE). 

Looking ahead

The expert consensus appears to be that Ethereum has a strong future ahead, but there are still a number of hurdles to be cleared which are likely to keep the price of ETH volatile in the short-term.