Ethereum users are on the cusp of accessing $26 billion worth of staked Ether with the world’s biggest smart contract platform.
On Monday, Eth core developers announced the successful deployment of the mainnet shadow fork, which is essentially a full rehearsal of the withdrawal capability expected to launch in March.
In such rehearsals, developers test for design and implementation flaws and tweak pending issues in preparation for the actual launch. Monday’s test was a preview of the highly anticipated Shanghai upgrade, which will introduce staked ETH withdrawals to the Ethereum network.
Shanghai will be Ethereum’s first major upgrade since the merge in September, which moved the network to a proof-of-stake system. The merge also introduced new features, such as the ability for users to deposit ETH with the network to become validators. In return, these users receive newly minted eth as a reward.
Users have staked nearly $26.5 billion Ether since December 2020. The rewards and staked ETH will be withdrawable once the Shanghai upgrade is implemented. Core developer, Marius Van Der Wijden, announced on Monday that the preview fork was successful, despite some minor bugs which have since been corrected. By all accounts, it looks like ETH is on schedule to deliver the withdrawal feature in the next five to eight weeks.
The Shanghai release will probably cause a stir on the crypto markets as prices react to fresh supply. Analysts at JP Morgan recently noted that the ability for ETH stakers to withdraw funds as they please “could usher in a new era of staking” for crypto exchange Coinbase, which has lost a lot of value since the start of the crypto winter in May 2022.