Ethereum merge delay could put its chances of overtaking Bitcoin as the top cryptocurrency at risk

 Ether has promised to do better. It has promised to go to the next level, edging out crypto rivals and even outshining the godfather, Bitcoin. But the clock's ticking. 

The number 2 cryptocurrency was supposed to be weeks away from the "merge", a transformative June upgrade of its blockchain Ethereum to make it faster, cheaper and less power hungry, holding out the prospect of a meaner and cleaner crypto future.

The anticipation had supported ether this year, even as inflation and monetary tightening shackled Bitcoin. But that merge - which would see ether mining transition away from the energy-intensive proof-of-work method to proof-of-stake - has been delayed, frustrating investors.

"The timeline for seeing this launch continues to extend," said Brendan Playford, founder and CEO of decentralised financial data platform Masa Finance.

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"It's certainly plausible that Ethereum's highly anticipated upgrade to a proof-of-stake system could be delayed again given that this transition is highly complicated and still uncertain as to whether it can actually deliver on its promise of lowering costs and increasing transaction speeds."

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