The miner-led Ethereum fork ETHW appears to already be losing its appeal among traders—before it's even really launched.
Earlier this month, a group of crypto miners launched a campaign to resist Ethereum’s impending merge—an event that will end the practice of ETH mining—by forking the Ethereum network and creating an alternate, still-minable form of ETH in the process.
The new token proposed by these miners, ETHW, at first attracted a fair amount of buzz. But barely a week after the token’s debut on multiple crypto exchanges, ETHW seems to have already lost a substantial amount of momentum.
Since first debuting on crypto exchange Poloniex on August 8, ETHW’s price has fallen some 62%, according to data from CoinMarketCap. At the moment, an IOU token of ETHW is trading for $52.59. By contrast, Ethereum itself is currently up 2% in the last day, though down roughly 1.3% over the last week.
What’s more, 24-hour trading volume on the alternative token is down over 68% from its peak of $13.8 million earlier in the month, to $4.4 million today.
ETHW does not yet exist; only if the cryptocurrency’s supporters are able to successfully hard fork, or split, the Ethereum network at the time of the merge, will the alternate coin (and its adjoining network) come into existence. The merge refers to the moment when the Ethereum mainnet combines with the proof-of-stake beacon chain. It is anticipated to take place in mid-September and will mark the completion of Ethereum's long-awaited transition to proof of stake.
Some crypto exchanges, though, believed that the hype and narrative surrounding the alternative coin’s creation would generate enough interest to justify listing ETHW before it even exists.
Over the last two weeks, exchanges Poloniex, Huobi, BitMEX, and— as recently as Tuesday, Bitrue— have started listing ETHW-affiliated financial products, including futures and “IOU” tokens.
ETHW (IOU) cannot currently be withdrawn or traded across exchanges; if the ETHW fork is successful, an investor’s ETHW (IOU) will at that point be converted into the real thing. If no ETHW materializes post-merge, remaining ETHW (IOU) would be converted into post-merge ETH.
An analyst at BitMEX, one of the exchanges currently listing ETHW futures, conceded to Decrypt that ETHW is unlikely to ever approach the market value or utility of Ethereum. But despite that, the exchange expressed optimism that the token could offer “an exciting opportunity for traders and speculators in the short to medium term.”
But weeks before the merge is even to take place, interest surrounding ETHW appears to be fading quickly. That’s bad news for the cryptocurrency’s supporters: the influx of miners attempting to produce more ETHW post-merge is likely to only further depress ETHW’s price.
“I expect that [ETHW] will be unsustainable,” Ethereum core developer Preston Van Loon previously told Decrypt. “There will not be enough buyers to absorb the constant sell pressure from miners and the currency will tumble to zero.”