Shapella Upgrade Brings Ethereum Closer to Long-awaited Withdrawals

Some 58,000 withdrawals have already been processed on Goerli —next stop: mainnet

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Ethereum has completed its “Shapella” upgrade on Goerli, enabling withdrawals on the testnet before the mainnet hard fork planned for early April.

The Shapella upgrade is the combination of the execution layer (Shanghai) with the consensus layer (Capella).

Developers have previously tested the upgrade on public testnets Sepolia and Zhejiang. 

The successful hard fork on Goerli marks the completion of the final step before Ethereum validators are able to withdraw their locked ether from the beacon chain.

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According to information on beaconcha.in, 58,063 withdrawals have already been processed on the Goerli testnet, with 124,246.82 (fake) ETH distributed.

Since moving from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake, the Ethereum network has required validators to lock in 32 ether (about $52,500) in order to participate in staking activities whilst accruing rewards. 

This latest upgrade shows they are one step closer to accessing these funds.

Two types of withdrawals will be possible once the withdrawal hard fork is executed in the beacon chain.

The first will be partial withdrawals, where earned rewards — those in excess of 32 ETH — is withdrawn to an Ethereum address. Validators who execute partial withdrawals will be able to continue to participate in network activities.

Full withdrawals will also be possible via an exit. If the validator chooses to do so, they can withdraw the entirety of their 32 ether and earned rewards and enter an exit queue.

The Ethereum Foundation notes that the size of the exit queue will vary depending on the size of the validator set in the network, to ensure that there is a limit rate of exit and entry into the beacon chain validator set.

However, Blockworks Research analyst Dan Smith expects most of the resulting sell pressure to be limited to the first few days following the mainnet rollout, and other analysts see the upgrade being perceived as a significant de-risking for the Ethereum network.

Vance Spencer, co-founder at Framework Ventures, told Blockworks that a successful mainnet Shapella would be “really important” for any institutional players interested in jumping into the Ethereum ecosystem, but have so far been hesitant due to their inability to unstake ETH as it stands.

“It appears that things went smoothly yesterday with the Goerli Shapella upgrade, and withdrawals are now being processed on Goerli testnet without major hiccups,” Spencer said.

“While I’m optimistic about the schedule, I think we all have to remember that there’s still a month of testing left, and even if there are no significant problems, it’s also still possible that major service providers could also cause delays if they don’t think they’ll be ready in time.”

Updated March 15, 2023 at 3:45 pm ET: Added comment from Vance Spencer.


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