Ethereum ($ETH) whales have started accumulating more of the cryptocurrency as its price rose over 50% over the past week, partly thanks to a projection for the date in which the blockchain will undergo the Merge.

The Ethereum Merge describes the network’s current mainnet merging with the Beacon Chain’s Proof-of-Stake system, setting the stage for future scaling upgrades, including sharding. The move is expected to reduce Ethereum’s energy consumption by 99.95%.

Tim Beiko, an Ethereum protocol support engineer at the Ethereum Foundation, made the September projection at a PoS Implementers Call. Beiko has noted that the Merge timeline is very likely to change over time.

The Merge is not expected to reduce Ethereum’s transaction fees, but will have a significant immediate impact on energy use while opening the door for upgrades that will reduce transaction fees.

According to on-chain analytics firm IntoTheBlock, as Ethereum’s price moved up from around $1,050 to over $1,500 at the time of writing, ETH whales picked up their accumulation pace, to now hold over 22.4% of the cryptocurrency’s circulating supply.

Notably, Ethereum moving to $1,500 was in line with a prediction made by veteran cryptocurrency trader and market analyst Michaël van de Poppe, who predicted earlier this month Ethereum could see a “significant run” if it broke through its resistance at $1,140.

Meanwhile, a panel of 53 fintech experts at Finder revealed bullish price predictions for the future of the cryptocurrency, putting a $1,711 price target for the end of the year on average, and predicting a rise to $5,739 by the end of 2025. By the end of 2030, the experts predicted Ethereum could rise as high as $14,412.

Ethereum’s price rise came amid a wider cryptocurrency market recovery that came after a recent sell-off that, according to Coinbase Research, was “almost exclusively” carried out by short-term holders.

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