Ethereum developers target March 2023 for Shanghai hard fork


According to a discussion at the 151st Ethereum Core Developers Meeting on Dec. 8, core programmers set a tentative deadline of March 2023 for the Shanghai hard fork. In addition, developers will aim for May or June 2023 to launch Ethereum Improvement Protocol (EIP) 4844 upgrade that will introduce proto-danksharding to the network. 

Although the much-anticipated proof-of-stake Merge upgrade was completed on Sept. 15, staked Ether (stETH), are currently locked on the Ethereum Beacon Chain. The token is created by decentralized finance protocol Lido with close to 3.5 million stETH ($4.48 billion) in circulation. After the Shanghai upgrade, stETH users can withdraw their funds along with any applicable staking rewards for validating network transactions. The Ethereum Foundation said that it structured the upgrades in this manner to “simplify and maximize focus on a successful transition to proof-of-stake.”

After the hard fork, the EIP-4844 upgrade is designed to introduce a new data-blob-transaction prototype previously invented by developers on Feb. 21, 2022. Currently, layer-2 technologies such as optimism rollups can move Ethereum computation and network storage off-chain to improve scalability by 10x to 100x. Developers anticipate that by introducing large portable bundles that can contain cheaper data in Ethereum transactions, it can improve the capacity of rollups by up to 100x. However, while the upgrade will lower the transaction fees on layer-2 solutions, it will not affect Ethereum gas fees.

Last December, co-founder Vitalik Buterin shared that his endgame was for Ethereum to act as a simple base-layer while users are “fully comfortable storing their assets in a ZK [zero-knowledge]-rollup running a full EVM [Ethereum Virtual Machine].” Buterin also warned that sharding and data availability sampling are “complex technologies” and would take years of audits and refinement to implement.