One of the most important events in crypto history looks to be all but set in stone. Ethereum (ETH -4.70%) developers successfully merged the Goerli testnet, the third and final testnet to be rehearsed before the actual Merge goes into effect. Testnets are like a trial run or test drive to ensure that any issues that might arise with the actual Merge can be addressed now rather than later.

With the success of Goerli, it seems that all that's left before The Merge goes live comes down to crossing some t's and dotting some i's. Developers, investors, and most of the crypto world now have their eyes set on Sept. 19, the date when Ethereum will move to a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism.

The news has been received well by investors. Since the news dropped Wednesday night, Ethereum is up roughly 14%. But could this be a buy the rumor, sell the news type of event?

Only time will tell, but the gravity of this development might not have made its way through the market yet. A measly 14% for one of the most significant events in blockchain history seems a bit wimpy. 

Maybe there are still reservations that Ethereum will actually be able to pull it off. The blockchain is no stranger to missed deadlines or moving targets. The Merge has been in the works for more than five years now and has repeatedly failed to meet planned objectives. Only recently have goals been met -- which is part of the reason Ethereum has doubled since mid-June.

Perhaps the value of The Merge is already priced into Ethereum today. After a brutal start to 2022, a near 100% gain in just a matter of weeks might be all that investors feel Ethereum is worth. 

Take a step back

Yet, a different approach with Ethereum might be more accurate. 

Activity across all sectors of crypto has been down this year.  Decentralized finance (DeFi) developers aren't building as much, the non-fungible token (NFT) market has lost almost all steam, and exchanges have seen less traffic. But the Ethereum Merge could change that. 

Think of The Merge like a new operating system on your phone or an update to your favorite video game. These events always generate an abundance of hype and excitement, but this one is orders of magnitudes larger and has hundreds of billions of dollars on the line. 

If The Merge launches as planned, a wave of developers might be waiting for Sept. 19 to arrive so that they can start to build new smart contracts and DeFi apps on the revamped blockchain. One of the promises of The Merge is lower fees -- something NFT creators and collectors have been awaiting for months. A smooth transition to proof of stake could bring an onslaught of activity to the NFT market again. 

These are just two examples of possibilities in a post-Merge world, but my position is that the 14% gain in Ethereum's price might only be a hint at what's to come. If this is a buy the rumor, sell the news event, I'm not convinced that the news has actually even dropped yet.

The road ahead

In the days and weeks leading up to Sept. 19, Ethereum might put in modest gains, but it's difficult to believe that the value a proof-of-stake Ethereum will serve to the crypto world will be accurately priced in until weeks and likely months after The Merge occurs. 

A more likely timeline could be something like this: As we get closer to Sept. 19, more and more anticipation will build. Investors will want to get a piece of Ethereum at prices today, and we could see Ethereum rise in the days before The Merge launches. As investors witness a successful transition occur, they might take some profits, causing Ethereum to slide. But over those next weeks and more likely months, activity on the Ethereum blockchain will rise as developers and users flock to take advantage of the fast speeds and lower fees. 

If this occurs, then this is when Ethereum's Merge could be accurately valued into its price. Don't plan on Ethereum to hit all of its potential on Sept. 19. Instead, keep your sights months, and even better, years down the line. A future where Ethereum supports more use cases than ever before could result in it smashing through the previous all-time high. With its current price just shy of $2,000, a serious opportunity might be awaiting investors. Considering that Ethereum nearly reached $5,000 in November 2021 without The Merge, imagine what it could be capable of once the move to proof of stake happens.