The Shanghai hard fork for Ethereum, which was initially expected in late March, has been delayed by approximately two weeks. The new timeline suggests that the upgrade will be deployed sometime within the first two weeks of April. Ethereum core developers announced the delay during a meeting held on March 2. The developers agreed that the hard fork would occur approximately two weeks after the Goerli testnet launch, which has been slated for March 14. The Goerli testnet will be the final rehearsal for the Shanghai hard fork before it is rolled out on the mainnet.
Tim Beiko, Ethereum core developer and project coordinator, stated that the team usually gives people at least two weeks after the announcement before deploying the upgrade on the mainnet. Therefore, Beiko suggested that if the Goerli launch goes smoothly on March 14, the earliest possible date for moving forward with the mainnet launch would be in the first week of April. However, Beiko posted on Twitter on March 2 that while the team did not explicitly agree to a mainnet date, they would “probably” set a date during the next developers meeting on March 16, “assuming things go well on Goerli.”
The upcoming Shanghai Capella upgrade to Goerli will be the last opportunity for Ethereum clients and staking providers to ensure that the Shanghai hard fork goes through smoothly when it launches on the mainnet. The Shanghai upgrade will allow the phased withdrawal of Ethereum staked from the Beacon Chain to maintain network stability and security. ETH withdrawals will be dynamic and depend on how many validators are exiting at the time. Validators must undergo a two-stage process involving an exit queue and a withdrawal period, so the withdrawal process will happen gradually over time.
Currently, there are 17.1 million ETH staked on the Beacon Chain, representing just over 14% of the entire supply, valued at around $28 billion at current asset prices. The Shanghai hard fork has been considered bullish for liquid staking providers. Currently, staked ETH is locked on the Beacon Chain since the Ethereum consensus layer launched in December 2020. Liquid staking platforms such as Lido offer more flexibility and better yield opportunities on staked ETH, which may see an influx of collateral in the months following the Shanghai upgrade.
The delay in the Shanghai hard fork is an opportunity for developers and stakers to check and test the upgrade’s readiness thoroughly. This delay is beneficial to ensure that the new upgrade version performs seamlessly without any critical bugs, glitches or errors. Meanwhile, investors can await further announcements from the Ethereum core developers regarding the exact date of the mainnet launch of the Shanghai upgrade in the coming weeks. With the capability for phased withdrawal of Ethereum staked from the Beacon Chain, the Shanghai upgrade is expected to make the Ethereum network more secure and stable.