Ethereum’s Shanghai Upgrade Inches Closer With ‘Shadow Fork’

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Ethereum developers have successfully released the first “Shadow Fork” of the network’s Shanghai upgrade.

Shadow Fork Reveals Glitches

A shadow fork is a test version of the actual mainnet, allowing developers to test the proposed upgrade’s code on the blockchain. Ethereum developers launched the first shadow fork for the Shanghai upgrade to test if it worked properly on the Ethereum mainnet. 

News of the shadow fork was revealed when Ethereum core developer Marius Van Der Wijden tweeted about it: 

“Withdrawal-Mainnet-Shadow-Fork-1 is finalizing. It started out with a few issues because the config wasn’t correctly applied on geth (we disallow overriding the mainnet config). The config is applied correctly and all nodes are in agreement. We will start some evil nodes.”

The testing did point out some minor technical glitches. Ethereum’s nodes were using Geth clients after the fork, which the developers were able to address immediately. The system nodes are since then in agreement. However, the system will be further tested to establish that everything works properly without a shadow of a doubt. 

Shanghai To Allow Staked ETH Withdrawals

The Shanghai upgrade will launch withdrawals on the mainnet in March. As a result of this upgrade, users will be able to access their staked coins, which they could not do since the Merge transition that took place in September 2022. In short, the upgrade will enable staked ETH withdrawals. 

Other than withdrawals, the developers are also focusing on optimizing gas costs through three specific improvements to the code. In order to test the upgrade, a public test network will be released before the end of February, which would onboard staking firms. Additionally, more shadow forks have been scheduled for the next few weeks as well. 

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A New Era Of Staking

The Merge introduced the Ethereum network to a proof-of-stake system, thus enabling users to deposit ETH with the network to become validators and play a role in on-chain transaction authentication. So far, since December 2020, users have staked almost $26.5 billion worth of ETH to earn staking rewards. However, the withdrawal capability will only be available once Shanghai is implemented. This means that users will have to wait until the Shanghai upgrade is fully launched on the mainnet (most likely in March 2023) to withdraw their newly-minted ETH rewards and their original ETH deposits. Experts have stated that allowing ETH stakers to withdraw funds as they please could introduce a new era of staking and significantly impact crypto. 

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.