Ethereum Developers Target March 2023 for Release of Staked Ether

Today, Ethereum developers determined the network’s next hard fork, called “Shanghai,” will have a target release timeframe of March 2023. This upgrade will include code known as EIP 4895 that will allow Beacon Chain staked ether (ETH) withdrawals.

Developers also agreed to address the implementation of the EVM Object Format (EOF) in Shanghai, which is a collection of EIPs that essentially upgrade the Ethereum Virtual Machine, the environment where Ethereum is able to execute smart contracts. Those Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) are EIP 3540, EIP 3670, EIP 4200, EIP 4570, EIP 5450.

If EOF seems too complicated to implement by the next All Core Developers call planned for Jan. 5, developers agreed that they will push back EOF to the fall, so that they don’t delay staked ETH withdrawals.

Developers also agreed to a second hard fork sometime in the fall of 2023, that would address another significant scaling upgrade – proto-danksharding, also known as EIP 4844. EIP 4844 would make Ethereum more scalable through sharding, a method that splits up the network into “shards” as a way to increase its capacity and bring down gas fees.

The two forks will give developers enough time to focus on each issue, and alleviate stress for those who have their ETH (and any accrued rewards) locked in the Beacon Chain staking smart contract.

Read more: Anxious Ethereum Stakers Question When They’ll Be Able to Access Funds

What happens next?

Now that the full scope of what will be included in Shanghai is mostly settled, Ethereum developers will go ahead and work on testing the code.

Last month, Ethereum developers launched the Shandong testnet, aimed at resolving any bugs related to some of the EIPs they might have included in Shanghai, but that testnet has now been deprecated. Following Thursday’s call, developers are aiming to launch a new public testnet for Shanghai around Dec.15-16.

Ethereum developers will focus their efforts over the next month on making Shanghai as smooth as possible and will aim to start mainnet shadow forks in mid-to-late January 2023.

This article is being updated.