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Ethereum Successfully Deploys Its First Mainnet Shadow Fork Ahead of Shanghai Upgrade

2 mins
Updated by Kyle Baird
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In Brief

  • Ethereum developers have deployed the first mainnet shadow fork in preparation for the Shanghai upgrade in March.
  • The shadow fork will allow validators to start testing withdrawals and preparing for the official launch.
  • The Ethereum network crossed 500,000 validators as anticipation for the upgrade builds up.
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Ethereum developers have successfully deployed the first mainnet shadow fork in preparation for the Shanghai upgrade. This upgrade is due in March and will allow validators to unstake their ETH.

The Ethereum network has taken a step forward with respect to the Shanghai upgrade. The development team successfully deployed its first mainnet shadow fork in preparation for the launch. This will allow Ethereum validators to start testing withdrawals and preparing for when the upgrade hits the mainnet.

The Shanghai upgrade itself is slated for launch in March and is highly anticipated. Ethereum stakers have had their ETH locked into the network since the switch to proof-of-stake was made. Validators have long requested the unstaking of ETH.

The mainnet shadow fork was executed on Jan. 23 and will help test the feature before it officially launches. There were only a few minor issues, which were all addressed, according to Ethereum core developer Marius Van Der Wijden.

Currently, there is over $26.5 billion worth of ETH staked. There is a cap on how much can be withdrawn, which will prevent an exodus of staked ETH. Developers planned to introduce additional improvements with the Shanghai upgrade, but these were set aside to prioritize unstaking.

ETH balance as shown on Etherscan, post Shadow Fork
Staked ETH Balance: Etherscan

Some Ethereum Devs Warn Against Rushed Upgrade

While most people are looking forward to the launch of Shanghai, a handful of Ethereum developers remain opposed to it. They believe that the unstaking of ETH is acceding to public demands and not so much about the long-term health of Ethereum.

They point out that the change could result in technical debt that would make long-term development more challenging. Their primary point was related to an encoding method, which is due for a switch.

Over 500,000 Validators Before the Shadow Fork

Total number of ETH validators per Beaconscan
ETH Validators: Beaconscan

Meanwhile, Ethereum’s stakeholders are gearing up for the release of the Shanghai upgrade. The network crossed 500,000 validators recently, which is a significant figure. This is especially true given the fact that the minimum amount required to stake is 32 ETH.

The price of Ethereum is in good shape and has been a top performer as the market breaks further out of its slump. ETH is currently priced at $1,638, up 4% from a week ago.

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Rahul Nambiampurath
Rahul Nambiampurath's cryptocurrency journey first began in 2014 when he stumbled upon Satoshi's Bitcoin whitepaper. With a bachelor's degree in Commerce and an MBA in Finance from Sikkim Manipal University, he was among the few that first recognized the sheer untapped potential of decentralized technologies. Since then, he has helped DeFi platforms like Balancer and Sidus Heroes — a web3 metaverse — as well as CEXs like Bitso (Mexico's biggest) and Overbit to reach new heights with his...