The stock market has been on a downhill slide this year, and crypto prices have also taken a tumble.
While that can be discouraging for investors, there is a silver lining: It's one of the most affordable times to buy. Most cryptocurrencies are priced at a steep discount compared to their peaks late last year, and if you've been on the fence about investing, now may be a smart time to dive in.
Choosing the right investment is critical, however. While everyone's investing preferences will be different, there's one cryptocurrency I'm loading up on in September: Ethereum (ETH -2.99%).
The future looks bright for Ethereum
Ethereum has long been one of the strongest players in the crypto space, but its upcoming update, "The Merge," has many investors feeling even more optimistic.
Not only will this update help Ethereum better compete with smaller networks like Cardano and Solana (which already use a PoS protocol), but it will also set the stage for future updates to improve Ethereum's speed and transaction costs.
The Merge is already underway, with developers kicking off the first step of the update, Bellatrix, on Sept. 6. It's unclear exactly how long it will take to complete, but it's expected to finish sometime between Sept. 13-16. Once The Merge is fully rolled out, it will be the start of a new chapter for Ethereum.
Where Ethereum falls short
Ethereum has plenty of advantages. It's the most popular network for decentralized applications (dApps) such as non-fungible token (NFT) marketplaces and decentralized finance (DeFi) projects. It's also the second- most popular cryptocurrency, with a market cap of more than $200 billion.
The Merge is a step in the right direction, but Ethereum will still face challenges. For one, this update won't solve Ethereum's most pressing issues -- namely its sluggish transaction times and high gas fees.
There is another update in the works to solve these problems, but it's not expected to happen until 2023 or 2024. While that upgrade could take Ethereum to new heights, one to two years is a long time for competitors to catch up and gain market share.
With many users and developers already frustrated by Ethereum's drawbacks, it's uncertain how much longer investors will be able to tolerate the network's slow speeds and high costs before moving to a competitor.
Is Ethereum still a good investment?
Whether the rewards outweigh the risks will depend largely on your personal investing preferences. Like all cryptocurrencies, Ethereum is a risky investment, and there are no guarantees that it will succeed over the long term.
Before you buy, consider how much risk you're able to tolerate, as well as how long you're willing to hold your investment. Ethereum is a long-term investment, and it will take years for it to reach its full potential. If you're willing to stick it out through the inevitable periods of volatility, it could pay off big time.
There's not necessarily a right or wrong answer as to where you should invest. Ethereum isn't perfect, but it remains one of the strongest cryptocurrencies in the field. If you believe in its long-term potential, it could be a fantastic buy right now.