Ethereum: Massive upgrade to be deployed – Will this be the investment opportunity of a lifetime?

  • The Shapella upgrade shall happen next week on the Sepolia network at epoch 56832.
  • The Shanghai upgrade will happen on the execution layer while the Capella upgrade will happen on the Consensus layer. Validators will get the option to choose between partial and full ETH withdrawals.

Earlier this week, the Ethereum foundation published a blog post sharing details of the upcoming scheduled upgrade of the Shanghai/Capella or Shapella network. After testing for months, developers will deploy this upgrade on the Sepolia testnet.

As per the blog post, the Shapella upgrade will activate on the Sepolia network at epoch 56832. This shall happen next week on February 28, at 4:04:48 AM UTC. This is also the first upgrade after The Merge in Mid-September 2022 wherein the Ethereum blockchain transitioned to a proof-of-stake (PoS) network allowing validators to withdraw.

The Shepalla network upgrade will allow users to withdraw their staked ETH from the Beacon chain back into the execution layer. Besides, it would also introduce new functionality to the execution layer as well as the consensus layer. In nutshell, the Shapella upgrade combines all the changes made to the execution layer (Shanghai), consensus layer (Capella) and engine API.

Before deploying the Shapella upgrade to the Sepolia testnet, developers might deploy it first on the Zhejiang testnet, which went live at the start of February. In order to take the advantage of this upgrade, stakers and non-stakers who operate the nodes will have to upgrade their nodes to the most recent Ethereum client versions.

The Shapella Upgrade

As said that Shapella upgrade represents the combination of the Shanghai and the Capella hardforks coming ahead on the Ethereum blockchain. The hardfork on the execution layer side carried the name Shanghai while the one on the consensus layer side has the name Capella.

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On the execution layer, some of the Ethereum improvement proposal (EIP) changes include warm Coinbase (not the exchange) and Beacon Chain Push withdrawals. Coinbase is the name of the software used by builders to receive new tokens on the network.

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Every new platform transaction has to interact with the Coinbase software multiple times. The first interaction costs more as the software has to “warm up” while subsequent interactions would cost less. But with the introduction of EIP-3651, the Coinbase software shall remain warm from the beginning thereby requiring a lower gas fee to access it. The push withdrawals allow the validators to withdraw from the Beacon Chain to the Ethereum Virtual Machine using a new “system-level” operation type.

The major changes happening on the Consensus layer would include full and partial withdrawals for the validators. Partial withdrawals mean that validators can withdraw ETH rewards in excess of 32 ETH and continue validation. If they choose the full withdrawal option, validators can take a full exit thereby taking all 32 ETH along with rewards, and take an exit.

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