On Tuesday, the Goerli test network hosted the final dress rehearsal for Ethereum’s planned Shanghai upgrade, more properly known as “Shapella” (testnet). The much-anticipated upgrade is now one step closer to being activated live on the mainnet blockchain early next month thanks to the test, which mimicked staked ether (ETH) withdrawals.
The update occurred at epoch 162304 at 10:26 UTC, but because to low validator participation rates, the epoch has not yet been finalised as of this writing. Normal participation conditions would have seen the epoch end at 10:38 UTC (6:38 p.m. ET).
When the epoch was activated, there was a 29% validator participation rate, which is quite low for Ethereum. Ben Edgington, a product lead at Teku, an Ethereum client, acknowledged on a YouTube livestream that the low participation rate was probably caused by validator nodes that had not upgraded in time for the Goerli fork.
The Shanghai upgrade will ultimately enable validators to withdraw their staked ether as well as any incentives received from adding or approving blocks to the blockchain, completing Ethereum’s entire shift to a proof-of-stake (PoS) network. After the launch of Ethereum’s PoS Beacon Chain in December 2020, these money have been locked up.
To simulate a main blockchain, testnets are utilised as a testing environment. This enables developers to fix any flaws before any changes are implemented on the mainnet.
Three testnets were used, with Goerli being the final one to go through the scenario. Given that it has the most validators and most closely resembles the activity on the Ethereum blockchain, this test was the most anticipated of the three. Also, it was the last chance for staking providers to check that staked ETH withdrawals will be handled correctly prior to the upgrade going live.
Thursday’s bimonthly call of Ethereum developers will be used to choose a date for the mainnet Shanghai upgrade. The mainnet target date for Ethereum developers was mentioned during the most recent biweekly call; this is a little change from their original March deadline.