April 12th is almost here, and Ethereum validators are getting ready for the Shapella hard fork, which is set to activate on the Ethereum mainnet. It has been almost a year since Ethereum made its transition to proof-of-stake and released Beacon Chain Genesis, the first block ever on a Proof-of-Stake Chain. Since then, the Ethereum Foundation has been releasing several upgrades, the most anticipated of them being Shapella.
Shapella, an upgrade built around Ethereum Improvement Proposal EIP-4895, is designed to let validators withdraw their Ether (ETH) from the Beacon Chain and transfer it to the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). The hard fork will take place at epoch 194,048 and is scheduled for 10:27 pm UTC on April 12, according to Ethereum core developers.
The amount of Ether that is currently staked on the Beacon Chain is a whopping 17.81 million. With the current price of Ethereum at $1,776, the total amount of Ether parked on the Beacon Chain equates to $31.6 billion. However, ETH withdrawals will be gradual and will not flood the market in a single day. Moreover, Ethereum developers have implemented additional mechanisms to ensure a complete ETH sell-off doesn’t disrupt the market.
Shapella is a major upgrade, as prior to its activation, Ethereum’s proof-of-stake consensus saw a notable transformation in Paris (The Merge). This upgrade switched the consensus mechanism of Ethereum from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake and brought in several other improvements such as London introducing EIP-1559 and Berlin bringing in optimized gas costs.
As Shapella is seen as perhaps the most significant hard fork, Ethereum has announced bounties for bug hunting. The foundation has promised rewards for successful bounties, ranging from $2,000 to $250,000, depending on the classification of the bug.
At the same time, Ethereum has incentivized developers to upgrade their nodes so they are ready in time for the Shapella hard fork, as Ethereum validators will be economically incentivized to make the necessary updates. Crypto enthusiast Lark Davis has also created an event to watch the activation of Shapella, which is known as ‘Let the Flames Begin!’
The Shapella hard fork is an important development for Ethereum and its journey to a fully functional proof-of-stake system. Therefore, you can stay tuned with Crypto Twitter Hall of Flame: Lark Davis and watch the upgrade as it happens, or join the Shapella watch party and celebrate the activation of this long-awaited Ethereum upgrade. As Shapella brings with it full withdrawals of ETH and a better user experience, the question on everyone’s mind is: will the Flame Begin?