Mike Novogratz is still a crypto bull, even in the midst of an awful year for prices. Going into the rest of the second half, the Galaxy Digital CEO says ether is his highest conviction crypto trade, for now. “Right now it’s Ethereum,” he told CNBC’s Squawk Box Wednesday. “It’s moved a lot but this merge is a big deal.” The “Merge” refers to the long-anticipated transition of the Ethereum network to a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism from proof-of-work. The change affects how transactions are validated and is expected to cut Ethereum’s energy consumption by more than 99%. It’s due to take place in September and many are expecting the price of ether to jump when it’s completed. “Prices are always set on the margin so I think that was the enthusiasm – this merge finally happening – that is going to continue to draw money into Ethereum.” Ether has been leading the crypto rally in the current quarter , according to JPMorgan, thanks to enthusiasm around the long-anticipated Ethereum merge. The second-biggest crypto asset by market cap has jumped about 70% in July, though it’s still down 50% on the year. In addition to the macro drivers in the crypto market this year, the industry has the added handicap of dealing with the financial contagion stemming from the collapse of the Terra Network – of which Novogratz was a public backer . He reiterated that forced deleveraging is behind us . As the industry recovers, down periods in crypto historically give way for new narratives to enter and give new life to the market – such as blockchain, ICOs, NFTs or DeFi. Bitcoin is still “a really good macro asset,” Novogratz added. He said its narrative is one of “just adoption,” but that adoption, while slow, remains steady.