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 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.
We promise there won’t be any premining or additional token issuance. So there is nowhere to save a reward for any contributors and supporters at this moment. However, if any beneficiaries would love to reward early supporters, we will connect beneficiaries with early supporters. https://t.co/gj4b81LD3V
— ETHPoW (@EthereumPoW) August 8, 2022
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.
Trading is now live for the Ethereum (ETH) potential hard fork tokens! @justinsuntron
ETHS(ETH2)/ETH: https://t.co/yS1piE47u4 pic.twitter.com/8Ko44ykWqd
— Poloniex Exchange (@Poloniex) August 7, 2022
Crypto exchange MEXC Global and Gate.io have also listed ETHW and ETHS on its platform. While OKX CEO Jay Hao has committed that they would list the newly forked Ethereum coins if there is “sufficient demand” for them among traders.
At @OKX, we actively monitor and will support the #Ethereum Merge.
Potential Ethereum hard forks may emerge when the network’s upgrade takes effect.
We will evaluate and list the newly forked coins if there is sufficient demand.
— jay_star.okx ⚛️ OKX CEO (@star_okx) August 8, 2022
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.
Related: F2Pool co-founder responds to allegations it’s cheating the Ethereum POW system
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.”
$ETC is the original chain. $ETH is a fork. And $ETHW is a fork of a fork. pic.twitter.com/0PkIYu4RrE
— ETCPOW (@ETCPOW) August 5, 2022
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.
How do you think the Ethereum Merge will play out? @Galois_Capital’s Kevin Zhou thinks there will be at least *three* forks and discusses why he thinks the POW chain will maintain a “decent amount of the market cap.”
Watch the full ep on @Unchained_pod https://t.co/FkpLEbEJkk pic.twitter.com/akwljH28qC
— Laura Shin (@laurashin) August 5, 2022
Zhou warned about potential liquidations in the Ethereum forked token markets, but admitted that the tokens could survive nevertheless at lower prices.
The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.