Ethereum is that asset institutional investors may soon feel ‘compelled to own’, Bitwise CIO says

Ethereum is that asset institutional investors may soon feel ‘compelled to own’, Bitwise CIO says

By Benson Toti - min read

Bitwise CIO Matt Hougan sees the crypto market growing 5-10x bigger in the next few years, with the next market cycle likely catalysed by Ethereum’s merge.

Bitwise Asset Management CIO Matt Hougan says Ethereum (ETH) transitioning from a proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (Pos) network, and the announcement of the date of the “Merge” is “a massive piece of news” – likely the signal that marks the beginning of a crypto bottom.

Hougan, speaking in an interview with Bloomberg on Friday, also believes the highly anticipated Merge puts Ethereum on the cusp of unprecedented adoption by institutional investors.

The Merge is big, and not just for Ethereum

Last week, Ethereum developer Tim Beiko announced that the highly anticipated Merge update will happen in mid-September, and the crypto market’s reaction helped ETH price soar more than 40% – rising from about $1,200 to over $1,640. Ethereum had dipped below $1k earlier in the month.

Hougan says a bottoming process could be underway as a result of the announcement, with this probably marking the turning point that eventually heralds the next crypto boom.

We may look back on the merge – or the announcement of the date of the merge – as the single moment that turned us from sort of the crypto winter into at least a sideways move before we go to the next big move.”

As for Ethereum, Hougan says the network is poised for its biggest development since the explosion in decentralised finace (DeFi) in 2020. Ethereum has not seen as much institutional hype as Bitcoin, but the transition, the Bitwise exec believes, will help make the cryptocurrency an even more attractive asset for institutional investors.

It’s going to transform Ethereum into an asset that institutional investors feel increasingly attracted to, maybe even compelled to own… Institutional investors have only been in Bitcoin primarily, but in the future of crypto they’re going to be in Bitcoin, Ethereum and, I would argue, a wide array of assets.”

Catalyst for 5-10x market growth

DeFi, non-fungilbe tokens (NFTs) and stablecoins were all huge over the last bull market. Before that, it was Ethereum-based initial coin offerings in 2017 and prior to that, Bitcoin’s revolutionary, non-sovereign monetary system in early 2010s. 

The future of crypto could see “five or six other killer products” emerging over the next few years. When this happens, greater adoption could see the market grow 5-10 times. Hougan explained when he thinks this will happen.

I think it will be the moment that crypto goes mainstream and your friends, your uncles, your cousins are all interacting with the crypto market through gaming, digital identity, music and NFTs ticketing, DeFi and stablecoins for payments,” he opined.

This kind of growth, he argued, might just be “a year or two off.”

During the Ethereum Community Conference (EthCC) in Paris earlier this week, co-founder Vitalik Buterin talked of the “long and complicated” journey that has been the transition to PoS.

He noted that the Merge was just a part of the roadmap that could end with Ethereum as a “a system that is more powerful and robust in so many ways.” But even then, with the pivotal merge, Ethereum would only be “55% complete.”