Ethereum’s Shapella transition is “on the horizon

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The Ethereum Foundation team announced another milestone on the road to the Shanghai upgrade, with the Shapella fork on the Zhejiang testnet moving into the final pre-launch sequence, according to a blog post on Feb 10.

The Shapella transition includes “many features,” and “most importantly to stakers and the consensus-layer, is the enabling of withdrawals,” notes the post, adding that:

“Full withdrawals will be available for exited validators, whereas partial withdrawals will be available for active validator balances in excess of 32 ETH.” 

As per the announcement, validators to participate in withdrawals must have a 0x01 execution-layer withdrawal credential. “If a validator currently has a 0x00 BLS withdrawal credential, they must sign a change operation to 0x01 to enable withdrawals,” notes the Ethereum team. 

Shapella refers to two Ethereum’ upgrades — “Shanghai” and “Capella” — allowing withdrawals on the execution layer, as well as the enhancement of the Beacon chain consensus layer. The move is especially helpful for ETH (ETH) stakers interested in understanding how withdrawals will work, since full withdrawals on the consensus layer require interaction.

Related: Ethereum’s Shanghai fork is coming — but it doesn’t mean investors should dump ETH

The Zhejiang test network, which launched on Feb. 1, is the first of three testnets that simulate Shanghai, which is expected to be live in March, although a specific date has not been released. The Sepolia testnet is scheduled to go through the upgrade on Feb. 28, followed by the Goerli testnet. The Ethereum team noted:

“If you are an Ethereum staker, node operator, infrastructure provider, or otherwise, now is the time to get up to speed on the coming Shapella upgrade, test your software, and pay attention. From here, each public testnet will be upgraded, and if all goes according to plan, mainnet will soon follow.”

Ethereum’s roadmap has several updates coming after Shanghai, known as the “Surge,” “Verge,” “Purge” and “Splurge”. Ethereum switched to proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus in September 2022, following by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Gary Gensler suggested that the blockchain’s transition to PoS might have brought ETH under the regulators’ radar.

Recently, Ethereum co-founder and crypto entrepreneur Joseph Lubin claimed to be confident that Ether won’t be classified as a security in the United States. “I think it’s as likely, and would have the same impact, as if Uber was made illegal,” Lubin said.

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