The much-awaited Ethereum hard fork, also known as “Shapella,” has been successfully completed, opening the door for staking withdrawals for users who have secured and validated transactions on the blockchain. The upgrade, which was activated at 22:27 UTC and finalized around 15 minutes later, marks a historic milestone in Ethereum’s multi-year transition to a full proof-of-stake network.
With the new proof-of-stake system, users stake their cryptocurrency as a guarantee to help secure and confirm new data blocks. Since last year, Ethereum has left behind its original proof-of-work consensus mechanism – the same one used by Bitcoin – but until now, users have been unable to withdraw their staked ether or redeem accrued rewards, a vital feature of the new paradigm.
According to beaconcha.in, approximately 285 withdrawals in epoch 194,408, worth $10 million, were processed within the first 30 minutes of the Shanghai upgrade activation. Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, said during a livestream hosted by Ethereum Cat Herders, that “we’re in a stage where the hardest and fastest parts of the Ethereum protocol’s transition are basically over.” Buterin further noted that scaling, which aims to make transactions faster and cheaper, would be the next issue Ethereum will tackle after Shanghai.
While the Ethereum community has been eagerly anticipating the hard fork, market analysts have been speculating for months whether it would be a catalyst for either a price rally or a crash. It remains to be seen whether the success of the upgrade will boost market sentiment or lead stakers to redeem their ETH and sell their holdings. Nevertheless, the completion of the Shanghai upgrade marks a new era for Ethereum’s proof-of-stake network.