At the All Core Developers meeting on December 8, 2022, Ethereum developers decided to launch the Shanghai upgrade, called Ethereum Improvement Proposal 4895, on March 2023.
This upgrade came in response to the successful completion of the Ethereum Merge on September 15, 2022, and will enable validators to withdraw their staked ETH from the Beacon Chain consensus layer.
Moreover, it will set the stage for a scalability upgrade, which will significantly increase the network’s transaction throughput.
Marius van der Wijden, a developer, has announced that full and partial withdrawals are now functional on two private Ethereum testnets, with a public testnet set to launch on either December 15 or December 16, 2022.
Testnets are copies of the main blockchain, like Ethereum, which allow developers to safely test applications without using real funds.
Following the update, teams behind popular Ethereum clients have reported their readiness to the group. Clients are software programs that enable everyday computers to become nodes, thus contributing to the security of the Ethereum network.
After merging, each node will execute both a consensus and an execution client. The execution client will handle transactions in the Ethereum Virtual Machine, while the consensus client will ensure the network reaches a consensus based on the information from the execution client.
Popular execution client implementations include Geth, Besus, Erigon, and Nethermind, while notable consensus implementations are Lighthouse, Lodestar, Nimbus, Prysm, and Teku.
Lodestar and Teku developers have reported that they are prepared for testing. All clients must first be tested on a public testnet before being connected to the mainnet.