The price of Ethereum Classic (ETC) skyrocketed on 4 May, soaring to an all-time high of $79.79 from its $52 level on 3 May. Meanwhile, the ether (ETH) price reached a new all-time high this week, then pulled back, while the ETC price then soared. So what’s the difference between ether (ETH), the coin that runs on the Ethereum blockchain, and the ETC coin – and what are the long-term price predictions for ETC?
Ethereum blockchain diverges after split
The Ethereum blockchain was launched in 2015 after two years of development by co-founders Vitalik Buterin and Gavin Wood, along with Charles Hoskinson and Anthony Di Iorio. Ethereum Classic was created from a hard fork in the Ethereum blockchain in July 2016, as participants in the blockchain disagreed over how to respond to a hack of the decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) that resulted in the theft of 3.6 million ether coins.
Ethereum Classic is a continuation of the original blockchain, as it did not revert the blockchain to cancel out the impact of the hack. The participants held to the principle that ‘code is law’, while what is now the Ethereum blockchain was created by the split. Miners and exchanges supported both the blockchains, allowing the Ethereum Classic legacy network to continue with ETC as its native coin. The two blockchains have diverged as the Ethereum blockchain moves towards a series of updates to create Ethereum 2.0, including a shift to proof of stake (PoS) mining algorithm from the proof of work (PoW) algorithm used by Bitcoin.
There are no plans for Ethereum Classic to convert to PoS. There is no official development team for Ethereum Classic, but multiple development groups are working on updates to the open-source code. Recent attacks have affected the ecosystem, prompting blockchain infrastructure research and engineering company IOHK, founded by Charles Hoskinson, to launch the Mantis project to roll out upgrades and support the community.
Ethereum Classic operates as a smart contract network and can host decentralized applications (DApps). As the ETC price rises, the rewards miners receive for verifying blocks increase, incentivizing more miners to join the network and increase its network security.
As activity on the Ethereum Classic blockchain fell, it became more vulnerable to attack. In January 2019, there was a double-spend of $1m in ETC on the Coinbase cryptocurrency exchange in a 51% attack, which can only occur if one entity or collective owns at least 51% of the network. Coinbase and several other exchanges paused ETC transactions and the price dropped in response.
ETC price hikes to a fresh high in 2021
The ETC price was $2.08 when the blockchain split in July 2016. The price had fallen to $0.75 by November 2016, where it bottomed out. It then trended higher, accelerating to reach $46 by December 2017. The subsequent crash took the price back down to $3.76 by December 2018. After the 51% attack in January 2019, ETC rose steadily to reach $9.33 by June, then fell back to $3.54 at the end of the year. The price climbed to $12.34 in February 2020, its highest level since 2018. A broad sell-off in cryptocurrencies saw the price drop to $4.51 in March 2020, and ETC traded in a range between $4-$6 for the rest of the year.
The latest crypto rally and the renewed development activity on the Ethereum Classic blockchain have lifted the ETC price sharply since the beginning of 2021. Emergency upgrades by the Core-Geth protocol provider and the relaunch of the Mantis client have increased confidence in the stability of the blockchain. On 26 April, the NOWPayments cryptocurrency payments gateway added ETC and developers have started to launch non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on Ethereum Classic. The ETC price climbed to $16.90 in February and traded between $9.94 and $14 until the end of March. The price spiked to $46.68 on 17 April, had fallen back to $29.73 by 25 April, then rocketed to a high of $71.93 on 4 May. At the time of writing on 5 May, ETC was trading at $75.65. Where next for the price? Will it pullback after the strong rally or continue to climb?
Ethereum classic price prediction: is the rally sustainable?
Short-term technical analysis from CoinCodex points to bullish sentiment for the ETC price, with 26 indicators giving bullish signals and none offering bearish signals. The rapid ETC price increase moved it well above its technical support levels of $57.29 down to $37.72, with resistance nearby at $76.86, indicating the potential to move up to $96.42.
For a long-term outlook, the ETC coin prediction from algorithm-based forecasting site Wallet Investor shows the price rising to $108.67 later in May, but subsequently falling back to the $43 level in June. It predicts the price will trade between $39 and $44 for the rest of 2021, then trade at $46.71 by December 2022 and rise to $54.26 by the end of 2025.
Digitalcoin is far more bullish. It predicts the ETC price will continue to climb, averaging $123.05 in 2021 and rising to $139.11. Its ETC forecast estimates the price will almost double from the 2021 average to reach $239.19 by 2025, and over the longer term will reach $356.54 by 2028.
The ETC prediction from Gov Capital puts the price at $49.00 by December 2021, rising to $59.89 by December 2022 and $110.82 by December 2025.
The prediction for the Ethereum Classic future price from Long Forecast expects even more volatility ahead. It forecasts the price will climb in 2021 to end the year at $244.60, then decline to $149.70 by September 2022 before ticking up to $198 in November 2022. The site predicts ETC will trade at $132.60 by the end of 2023 and $112.20 by June 2025.
Will the ETC price go up?
The direction of the Ethereum Classic price will depend on the way the protocol develops, together with further adoption, as well as the direction of prices across the cryptocurrency markets.
What will Ethereum Classic be worth in 2025 and 2030?
Predictions for the ETC price by 2025 vary, with some forecasters indicating the price will retreat, while others expect it to continue to rise strongly. WalletInvestor predicts ETC will trade at around $54 by 2025, whereas Digitalcoin predicts it will average $239.
How can I buy and trade Ethereum Classic?
You can buy ETC on cryptocurrency exchanges such as Binance and Kraken and store it in a digital wallet. Alternatively, you can trade the coin along with a variety of other cryptocurrencies through contracts for difference (CFDs) on Capital.com.
With CFDs, you can speculate on the ETC price without actually holding the coin. If you expect the price to rise you can take a long position, and if you think it will fall you can go short and still make a profit on the trade, even if the price drops.