An Ethereum fork token that does not yet exist, dubbed ETHW, is trading under $100 across several crypto exchanges after debuting at $30.
ETHW and ETHS begin trading
ETHW is the native asset to the ETHPoW chain. ETHPoW, for now, is a possible new chain backed by proof-of-work (PoW) miners as the original chain switches to a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus in September's "Merge" event.
Meanwhile, the proof-of-stake version ETHS is trading at around $1,600 or the difference between the ETH price and the ETHW price.
As a result of this potential chain split, anyone holding a certain number of the original chain's Ether (ETH) will automatically receive an equal amount of ETHW tokens. Such speculations have prompted some exchanges to list ETHW for trading in advance.
For instance, Poloniex announced support for both ETHW, as well as ETHS, the PoS chain token, listed for trading against Ether.
Crypto exchange MEXC Global and Gate.io have also listed ETHW and ETHS on its platform. Concurrently, OKX CEO Jay Hao has committed that they would list the newly forked Ethereum coins if there is "sufficient demand" for them among traders.
Crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX also launched Tether-margined contracts for ETHW, creating more room for price speculation ahead of the token's potential inception post Merge.
ETHW trading at how much?
ETHW debuted on Poloniex and MEXC Global on Aug. 8 at around $30 per token. On the same day, it rallied 333% to $130 before correcting to approximately $100 on Aug. 9. Trading volume was stable throughout the period.
Will ETHPoW survive?
Forked chains seldom survive, mainly due to a lack of support from app developers, miners and promoters. Nonetheless, some projects have witnessed reasonable adoption by users and miners alike (e.g. Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum Classic).
Notably, Hongcai "Chandler" Guo, a San Francisco-based angel investor in Bitcoin and Ethereum startups, has emerged as the main backer of ETHPoW. He claims he has a team of 60 developers working on getting rid of the so-called "difficulty bomb," a software tool designed to force the PoW-to-PoS transition.
On the other hand, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin called fork supporters "a couple of outsiders" that own crypto exchanges and "want to make a quick buck."
He reasserted that Ethereum miners already have a PoW alternative in Ethereum Classic, the original version of Ethereum, noting that it has "a superior community and superior product for people pro-proof-of-work."
Ethereum Classic (ETC) has rallied nearly 150% since the Merge's announcement on July 14.
Meanwhile, a non-difficulty bomb version of ETHW could grab 2%–10% of Ethereum's market capitalization, said Kevin Zhou, the co-founder of Galois Capital, a crypto hedge fund.
He explains that Ethereum could split into at least three chains after the Merge: ETHW (without the difficulty bomb), ETHW (with the difficulty bomb) and ETHS.
Zhou warned about potential liquidations in the Ethereum forked token markets but admitted that the tokens could survive at lower prices.
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