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This February, Ethereum is reportedly launching Zhejiang, the dress rehearsal testnet for its Shanghai hard fork.
The Ethereum network is set to trial staking withdrawals on its Zhejiang testnet today, February 1st. According to reports, this public withdrawal testnet is the first of its kind since the Merge upgrade last September. Ethereum developers also plan to launch testnets for the Shanghai and Capella projects in February – six days after Zhejiang goes online.
Multiple core developers say that Shanghai’s rollout is going according to schedule and is on track for an early spring release.
Ethereum Foundation Developer Touches on Zhejiang February Testnet
Weighing in on the testnet, Ethereum Foundation developer Parithosh Jayanthi noted:
“This is also a great opportunity for all tools to test out how they want to collect, display and use the withdrawal information. You can attempt to convert 0x00 credentials to 0x01 and set a withdrawal address. You can test partial withdrawals and full withdrawals by exiting your validator.”
The complete implementation of the Shanghai upgrade will facilitate the withdrawal of users’ staked Ether (ETH). The success of the Ethereum Merge upgrade in September has seen users staking their token on the less energy-intensive proof-of-stake network. However, a large amount of funds remain locked, pending a new patch that the upcoming network dress rehearsals look to address adequately. This massive amount of unclaimed capital has also seen Shanghai’s release timeline under careful and intense monitoring.
Although Zhejiang is still in beta, its complete withdrawal code has already been published on the Ethereum website.
Shanghai Hard Fork Could Launch in March
Ethereum Foundation developers are angling for a tentative date of March this year for the highly anticipated Shanghai hard fork. Furthermore, the upcoming Zhejiang testnet could likely feature all the Ethereum Improvement Protocols (EIPs) included in the Shanghai upgrade. One such EIP is the timestamp-based forking.
The Zhejiang public testnet will allow validators to tinker with withdrawal features on an Ethereum-simulated version. This version closely mimics a post-Shanghai chain and grants Ethereum’s core developers the opportunity to resolve any potential issues.
Developers anticipate that Zheijiang will receive more public attention than usual amid the routine rollout of various Ethereum testnets. The extra attention is due to Zheijiang’s inherent withdrawal capability, which is of particular interest to intermediary firms. These firms include Binance, Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN), Kraken, and Lido Finance, which stake ETH for their users in massive pools. It is worth noting that an amount of 32 ETH, or just over $50K, is the base requirement for staking with the network.
JPMorgan analysts previously opined that ETH staking withdrawals could see Coinbase rake in more than $500 million in annual revenue.
The next upgrade to follow Shanghai is EIP-4844, which could see a release in May or June this year. According to experts, EIP-4844 can potentially increase the scalability of layer-2 rollups on the blockchain by factors of 100x and lower transaction fees.