• Ethereum’s Shanghai upgrade in March will enable withdrawals from the beacon chain by granting ETH validators the ability to unstake.
• The ETH merge took place in the Bellatrix upgrade in September 2022, transitioning from Proof of Work (POW) to Proof of Stake (POS).
• Currently, the number of beacon chain validators has reached 500,000 with a total of over 16 million ETH staked in the ETH 2.0 deposit contract.
Ethereum is set to undergo a major upgrade in March of this year with the release of the Shanghai upgrade. The upgrade will grant ETH validators the ability to unstake and withdraw their ETH from the beacon chain, granting them access to the much-needed liquidity that has been locked up since the transition from Proof of Work (POW) to Proof of Stake (POS) in September of 2022.
Currently, there are over 500,000 beacon chain validators, with a total of 16 million ETH staked into the ETH 2.0 deposit contract. These validators have each deposited 32 ETH before being able to begin operations, but with the majority of stakers currently at a loss, the Shanghai upgrade will be a welcome change for many. It will allow stakers to decide whether to sell at a loss or hold long-term until back in profit.
The Shanghai upgrade will also enable stakers to access their ETH rewards from the beacon chain, which has been largely inaccessible until now. This will be achieved by the use of a new „0x01“ signature format, which will allow validators to securely sign messages and transactions. The upgrade is also expected to bring with it improved scalability and efficiency, as well as new features such as sharding, which will allow transactions to be processed in parallel.
The Shanghai upgrade will be a major milestone for the Ethereum network and will mark the end of the transition to a fully decentralized Proof of Stake consensus mechanism. With the upgrade expected to bring an influx of liquidity, it will be interesting to see how the market responds. It is likely that we will see an increased demand for liquid staking derivatives such as staking pools and staking-as-a-service products as investors look for ways to take advantage of the unlocked ETH.