Ethereum Sets February Date for Shapella Hard Fork

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Key takeaways:

  • Following simulations on the Zhejiang testnet, the second round of staked ether (ETH) withdrawal testing has begun.
  • Sepolia, a local testnet intended for Ethereum developers, is the second such network to get the upgrade.

In a blog post on February 10, the Ethereum Foundation team revealed that the Shapella fork on the Zhejiang testnet had entered the final phase of the pre-launch sequence, marking another step towards the Shanghai upgrade.

According to the publication, the Shapella transition has “several features,” but “most crucially to the stakeholder, and the consensus-layer is the permitting of withdrawals,” which includes:

“Full withdrawals will be available for exited validators, whereas partial withdrawals will be available for active validator balances in excess of 32 ETH. ” 

According to the statement, validators cannot take part in withdrawals without a valid 0x01 execution-layer withdrawal credential. In addition, the Ethereum team warns that to facilitate withdrawals, a validator with a 0x00 BLS withdrawal credential must sign a change operation to 0x01. 

Shapella refers to two Ethereum enhancements known as “Shanghai” and “Capella” that improve the Beacon Chain consensus layer and enable withdrawals on the execution layer. Due to the fact that complete withdrawals on the consensus layer involve interaction, the move is especially beneficial for ETH stakeholders interested in learning how withdrawals will operate.

The first of three testnets replicating Shanghai opened on February 1 and is dubbed Zhejiang. Shanghai is slated to go live in March; however, a specific date has yet to be disclosed. On February 28, the Sepolia testnet is slated to undergo the update, followed by the Goerli testnet. Team Ethereum noted:

“If you are an Ethereum staker, node operator, infrastructure provider, or otherwise, now is the time to get up to speed on the coming Shapella upgrade, test your software, and pay attention. From here, each public testnet will be upgraded, and if all goes according to plan, mainnet will soon follow.”

Following Shanghai, various updates for Ethereum called “Surge,” “Verge,” “Purge,” and “Splurge” will be released. In September 2022, Ethereum converted to proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus. 

Goerli will be the last testnet to receive the Shanghai update once Sepolia has finished its own testing cycle. The most anticipated test will be Goerli since it is the most significant public Ethereum testnet and the last chance for staking providers to ensure that staked ETH withdrawals work before Shanghai goes live on the mainnet.

Since going through the Merge in September, which replaced its outdated, energy-intensive proof-of-work (PoW) paradigm with a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus process, Shanghai will be Ethereum’s first hard fork. PoS uses ETH, which is “staked” on the blockchain, to aid in verifying and securing transactions.

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