This week, Ethereum developers met to hold their frequent “all developer call” where they discuss the progress they’re making on the blockchain. This time there was a focus on the upcoming Shanghai update, which will allow stakers to recover their staked ETH.
The news from this call was positive, but with a few caveats. Shanghai is currently expected to roll out in March, and some developers have said they’re not aware of any issues that could push back the release date. That’s a big deal for Ethereum, as right now there are some $23B locked up in Ethereum staking that can’t be withdrawn. That’s a whopping 16M ETH.
Developers recently launched their devnet2, an internal testing environment for them to validate that the new version of Ethereum is working without bugs. The deployment worked with some minor bugs, though they were reportedly within their expectations. The developers are expecting to release the first full public testnet in February.
The downside here is why the Shanghai update is easy to predict–they’ve delayed most of the major items that had previously been planned for this update. There were plans to increase efficiency and decrease cost of layer 2 transactions on Ethereum by a mechanism called “proto-danksharding.” Yep, that’s what they called it. Ethereum devs also pushed back planned work on the Ethereum Virtual Machine, the mechanism that settles smart contracts.
On the plus side, Ethereum is getting un-staking capabilities ASAP, and it will come in a very low risk manner. As with any technical changes, the fewer changes there are, the easier it is to catch all of the possible bugs in the code. I think after the time it took for the team to roll out The Merge, it’s a good idea to show a little momentum and push out high visibility features quickly to continue rebuilding trust in the development team.