The upgrade will enable staked ETH withdrawals on the Beacon Chain, completing Ethereum’s transition to a PoS consensus.
The target date for the highly anticipated Shanghai hard fork on Ethereum has now been set: April 12. Ethereum core developers approved the target deadline during the All Core Developers Execution Layer #157 call on March 16.
The Shanghai mainnet upgrade features five Ethereum Improvement Proposals, including EIP-4985, which will enable staked Ether withdrawals on the Beacon Chain, completing Ethereum’s transition from proof-of-work to a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus.
The target date — April 12 at 10:27:35 pm UTC, epoch 620,9536 — will now be confirmed by developers on GitHub. The fork was initially forecasted for March, but developers later pushed it back to early April.
Validators will receive rewards payments automatically at periodic intervals in withdrawal addresses. Additionally, stakers can exit positions entirely, reclaiming their full balance.
According to Etherscan, the Ethereum PoS smart contract has attracted over 17.6 million ETH, worth nearly $29.4 billion at publication time. Analysts predict that the upgrade could trigger a sell-off in the short term, as Cointelegraph reported.
The transition to PoS officially started on Sept. 15, 2022 with the Merge, a significant milestone for Ethereum that replaced miners with validators and introduced ETH staking as a key component of the network. Ethereum’s roadmap has several updates coming after Shanghai, including the “Surge,” “Verge,” “Purge” and “Splurge.”
The switch to a PoS consensus could have regulatory implications for ETH and the crypto space. In September 2022, United States Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler suggested that the blockchain’s transition might have brought ETH under the regulators’ radar.
After a recent crackdown on crypto firms providing staking services in the U.S., Gensler again suggested on March 15 that proof-of-stake coins might be securities:
“Whatever they’re promoting and putting into a protocol, and locking up their tokens in a protocol, a protocol that’s often a small group of entrepreneurs and developers are developing, I would just suggest that each of these token operators […] seek to come into compliance, and the same with the intermediaries.”