Ethereum core developers have agreed on a date for the much-awaited Shanghai upgrade’s mainnet activation that will allow stakers to withdraw their staked ETH funds on the Beacon chain.
In the All Core Developers Execution (ACDE) meeting #157 on Thursday, March 16th, Ethereum developers forecasted April 12th as the date for Shanghai mainnet activation at slot 6209536. They also recapped Shanghai’s implementation on the Goerli testnet and the subsequent Cancun upgrade.
Final Rehearsal on Goerli
As previously discussed, the Shanghai fork, more accurately called Shapella, is a combination of two upgrades, Shanghai & Capella, to Ethereum’s execution and consensus layer respectively. Overall, the fork constitutes the five Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs), including EIP-4985, which will enable staked Ether withdrawals on the Beacon Chain, completing Ethereum’s transition from PoW to a PoS consensus.
Ethereum’s transition to proof-of-stake (PoS) officially started in September 2022 in an event called the Merge. The Merge replaced PoW miners with validators who stake 32 native ETH coins to validate the blockchain.
According to Etherscan, over 17.67 million ETH, worth more than $30 billion at the time of writing, is currently locked in Ethereum PoS smart contract. However, these funds can not be unlocked until the Shanghai upgrade goes live on the mainnet.
To achieve this milestone without a hitch, Shapella is currently completing its final rehearsal on Ethereum’s Goerli testnet. Shepella was implemented on Goerli on Tuesday, March 14th, at epoch 162304, and is simulating staked Ether (ETH) withdrawals.
According to core developer Tim Beiko, Shapella’s Goerli launch took some time to finalize due to low validator participation rates. There was a 29% validator participation rate at the time when the epoch was triggered, which was likely due to validator nodes not having upgraded on time for the Goerli fork. Once fixed, all went smoothly.
Now the developers are all set to go for the mainnet launch on April 12th. According to Tim Beiko:
“Teams were ready to move to mainnet, and so we’ve agreed to fork on slot 6209536, scheduled for April 12, 10:27 PM UTC. Expect client releases in about a week and a full announcement ~10 days from now.”
Teams were ready to move to mainnet, and so we've agreed to fork on slot 6209536, scheduled for April 12, 10:27PM UTC. Expect client releases in about a week, and a full announcement ~10 days from now 😄
— timbeiko.eth ☀️ (@TimBeiko) March 16, 2023
The target date will now be confirmed by developers via voting on GitHub.
As reported, in February 2nd ACDE meeting, The fork was initially forecasted for mid-March, but developers later pushed it back to early April to buy some time for necessary preparations.
Shapella will be a momentous milestone as it will complete Ethereum as a PoS chain. However, regulatory complexity for the native ETH token is also around the corner. As a PoW coin, the US SEC and other regulators considered ETH a commodity with no initial issuer. But the token is now beeping red on the SEC radar as Gary Gensler has already notified that the transition would make ETH a security asset.