Ethereum launches Testnet to start work on Shanghai upgrade

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Fresh off the success of a perfectly implemented merge event Last month, leading Ethereum developers began to show interest in the network’s highly anticipated next upgrade: Shanghai.

The Ethereum Foundation on Friday announced the launch of a pre-Shanghai testnet it calls “Shandong.” shandong will serve as a testing ground for many Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs), which Ethereum core developers will build, refine, and ultimately scale down to the select number of updates that will be included in Shanghai during its on-line.

Core Developers previously confirmed at Decrypt which Shanghai is expected to launch no later than September 2023, although a firm timeline has yet to be agreed among the core Ethereum developers.

Which proposals will be included in Shanghai also remains an unresolved question. Multiple Core Developer Factions expressed different priorities for what they think is most needed to include in the upgrade.

Perhaps the most significant update most likely to be included in Shanghai is EIP-4895, which would allow individuals and entities that hold ETH staked with Ethereum to withdraw it. Last month, the merger transitioned the Ethereum network to a proof-of-stake mechanism, through which users can now deposit pre-existing ETH stores to generate new ETH. However, this deposited or staked ETH is currently irremovable. EIP-4895 would allow users to withdraw their ETH and staked earnings.

Another much-discussed update that some developers hope to include in Shanghai is proto-danksharding, a preliminary version of a process that would allow cumulations– the tools that offload much of the transaction traffic from the Ethereum mainnet, making transactions cheaper and faster – to verify huge amounts of data by only sampling small coins.

The update would significantly increase the speed and ease with which massive amounts of Ethereum transactions could be processed on layer 2 networks such as Arbitration and Optimism. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has underline that perfecting the speed and cost of transactions on these Layer 2 networks is critical to the future of Ethereum.

Although the danksharding capability is eagerly awaited by many Ethereum developers and users, adding it to Shanghai would significantly increase the time needed to test and perfect the upgrade.

With billions of dollars of ETH trapped on Ethereum until Shanghai’s implementation, network developers may ultimately determine that a more streamlined upgrade is needed to expedite the software release.

These decisions, however, have yet to be made. A lead Ethereum developer said Decrypt that productive conversations have taken place between the main developers of the network in Bogota last weekat the network’s flagship conference, Devcon, but no final decision on which EIPs to include in Shanghai has been made.

Until then, Shangdong will likely prove to be an important testing ground that will help Ethereum developers determine which Shanghai additions will be feasible and which will not.

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