Ethereum, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency in terms of market value, is set to receive a major blockchain upgrade this week. Dubbed Shapella, the upgrade is expected to unlock around $31 billion in staked tokens.
These tokens, known as “staked ether,” have been deposited by investors on the blockchain in the past three years. By staking their Ether coins, investors helped secure the network while receiving interest in exchange. Around 15 percent of all Ethereum tokens fall in the category of “staked ether.”
According to a previous announcement by Ethereum Foundation’s Tim Beiko, the Shapella upgrade will roll out on April 12 at 22:27:35 UTC.
Many analysts believe that the unlocking of “staked ether” will prompt the investors to quickly offload the unlocked ether tokens and bring the cryptocurrency’s price to drop significantly.
“The release of this previously unrealized investment may lead to significant downward price pressure if it is immediately liquidated,” Deutsche Bank analysts said in a note to clients viewed by Reuters.
Ethereum has already seen a slide on Wednesday, dropping to as low as $1,861.63 per coin following a prolonged period of gains. The coin is more than 56 percent up year to date and has a market value of around $230 billion, trailing only Bitcoin.