The Marvel Cinematic Universe has made quite an impression in the movie industry. Since the debut of Iron Man in May, 2008, the franchise has grossed over $12.5 billion worldwide at the box office. Almost 20% of that has come from the Captain America segment, which focuses on the transformation of Steve Rogers from a scrawny kid to a revered American hero. In the first installment, Rogers continually tries to join the Army to fight in World War II but can’t due to his physical and medical limitations. Yet he happens to be selected for a secret military experiment, and once evaluated, is injected with a serum that turns him into a superhuman fighter. One of his old time friends, upon seeing the new and improved Rogers, asks what happened. Rogers wryly responds, “I joined the Army.” In the real world, the blockchain Ethereum is receiving a similar upgrade. No, Ethereum won’t be transformed into a superhuman fighter, but the cryptocurrency system will receive a highly anticipated Metropolis upgrade this September. Ether – the actual units of cryptocurrency that are used on the Ethereum blockchain – has been growing in popularity since its launch several years ago, and undoubtedly the upgrade to its platform has blockchain traders and investors chomping at the bit.
The Metropolis Update
The Metropolis upgrade, which was announced last week, is slated to be released in late September. The update (revealed earlier this year), according to reports, will “implement a number of changes and improvements, including higher levels of anonymous transactions, easier programming and smart contracts, and additional security in the form of masking.” The platform will not only improve usability, but provide additional layers of protection against hacking–something which cryptocurrencies are very familiar with. Though there was a delay in “Difficulty Bomb”–which would make Ether mining harder and harder over time–the upgrade has a lot of potential.
As cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies continue to develop and expand, developers will have to show the resiliency needed to adapt to an ever changing environment. After the bitcoin currency split, Ethereum programmers are likely feeling additional pressure to keep users happy. Added to this is the potential for greater regulatory oversight–new regulations are already in effect–as well as the pressure that comes with protecting consumers from fraud and extortion.
How Will the Market React?
It is relatively unknown how the market will react to the Metropolis upgrade. If the mining is slower, undoubtedly prices will fall; however, there is a possibility that the upgrade will increase the number of uses, thereby supplying additional buying pressure. The Ethereum team itself was ambiguous on the matter, commenting that prices could increase or decrease. Some, based upon past increases in Ethereum miners, believe “the positive development could also trigger a price increase.” But at this point, it is anyone’s guess, something that speculators and investors alike should take note of. Suffice it to say, the Metropolis update will surely be a welcome one, as Ethereum users will benefit in the long run from current and futures upgrades–the next update, Serenity, has already been announced. And, if some expert forecasts pan out, new users will proudly declare, “I joined Ethereum.”