As a result of uncertainty and volatility in the crypto market, Ethereum (ETH 1.75%) is now down nearly 25% from its February highs, and has been trading near two-month lows. Recently, fears of financial contagion stemming from Silvergate Capital and Silicon Valley Bank have further added to concerns about Ethereum. At its current price of $1,438, Ethereum is still 70% below its all-time high of $4,891.70 in November 2021.

All of which, of course, creates a unique buying opportunity for Ethereum. The recent price decline of 25% certainly qualifies as a buy-the-dip opportunity, and much of the price action surrounding Ethereum seems to be occurring because of events unrelated to it directly. From my perspective, the long-term case for buying Ethereum remains in place.

Short-term factors

As a long-term investor, it's important to focus on the events and catalysts that have a direct impact on the long-term growth prospects of a crypto, rather than getting caught up in the day-to-day or week-to-week events that get all the publicity in the media. For now, of course, everyone is talking about the risks of financial contagion, and all the top cryptos are feeling the heat. After news broke about Silvergate Capital and Silicon Valley Bank, both Bitcoin and Ethereum traded down 8%.

Investor analyzing Ethereum with tablet computer.

Image source: Getty Images.

In addition, Ethereum has been pulled down by ongoing concerns about the macroeconomic outlook for the economy. Basically, it comes down to this: If the Fed continues to tighten interest rates, then that is going to exert downward pressure on the price of all cryptos, including Ethereum. That largely explains why Ethereum, still up 19.80% for the year, has been unable to maintain a price above the $1,500 level. Any suggestion of higher interest rates automatically puts a brake on Ethereum's upward price momentum.

Long-term factors

But let's step back for a moment and consider the long-term outlook for Ethereum. From my perspective, it all comes down to how much The Merge will mean for Ethereum's future growth prospects. The Merge, which was one of the most anticipated events of 2022 in the crypto industry, enabled Ethereum to convert from a proof-of-work blockchain to a proof-of-stake blockchain.

That automatically made Ethereum 99.9% more efficient from an energy perspective, and laid the groundwork for the next phase in Ethereum's ongoing evolution. It reduced fees paid on the blockchain for every transaction and generally made Ethereum faster, more efficient, and cheaper to use.

All of this, of course, has consolidated Ethereum's position as the premier Layer 1 blockchain in the world. Before The Merge, there were concerns that a host of upstart Layer 1 blockchains -- among them Solana and Avalanche -- might supplant Ethereum simply due to their speed and efficiency advantages.

But The Merge has largely removed those concerns, and Ethereum continues to be the dominant blockchain in areas such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and decentralized finance (DeFi). Meanwhile, Ethereum continues to churn out new improvements to its blockchain, such as the new Shanghai upgrade. So the long-term case for buying Ethereum remains in place.

Lastly, as part of a larger narrative about crypto as a unique asset class, institutional investors are beginning to embrace Ethereum as a Bitcoin alternative. A new surge of institutional investor interest in Ethereum is big for two reasons. First, it provides a sort of halo effect for Ethereum that could help shield it from unwanted regulatory scrutiny and oversight. And second, it provides extra price support for Ethereum, simply based on supply and demand. If institutional investors begin to allocate even a tiny portion of their portfolios to Ethereum, that is going to ramp up demand for it.

Should you buy Ethereum?

As Warren Buffett has pointed out before, "Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful." While Buffett was talking specifically about beaten-down value stocks, this useful bit of investor wisdom can be applied to beaten-down cryptos as well. Macroeconomic concerns and fears about financial contagion have resulted in Ethereum now selling at a steep discount, and many are fearful.

As long as you feel confident in the long-term outlook for Ethereum, and as long as you feel confident in the ability of founder Vitalik Buterin to deliver even more improvements to the Ethereum blockchain in coming years, then Ethereum looks like a solid buying opportunity. At a time of market uncertainty, you are getting access to the second-largest crypto in the world at a bargain price.