Ethereum Engineers Release Shadow Fork To Test Shanghai’s Withdrawal Mechanism


  • Developers finalized the ‘Withdrawal-Mainnet-Shadow-Fork-1’ on Thursday.
  • The move marks the first major test phase for Ethereum’s hyped Shanghai updated in March 2023.
  • ETH Developer Marius Van Der Wijden noted configuration difficulties on Geth but said progress is underway.

Ethereum developers announced a ‘shadow fork’ of the Shanghai update built to test the withdrawal of Staked Ether (ETH) from crypto’s leading altcoin blockchain. Developers dubbed the test environment ‘Withdrawal-Mainnet-Shadow-Fork-1’, suggesting the first of many testnets. 

A shadow fork refers to a testing ground or trial network built to simulate the main blockchain, in this case, Ethereum. The shadow fork allows engineers and developers to run code, smooth bugs, and finalize an upgrade before shipping to the mainnet. A similar approach was leveraged when preparing for the massive transition to proof-of-stake in 2022. 

‘Withdrawal-Mainnet-Shadow-Fork-1’ was designed to test the withdrawal mechanism for staked ETH that is expected to roll out with the Shanghai update. According to Marius Van Der Wijden, a developer at the ETH Foundation, the shadow fork was successfully finalized on Monday around 5:30 am ET. 

Van Der Wijden noted that some bugs emerged when applying the shadow fork configurations on Geth, an execution client of ETH networks that handles key operations like transactions and execution of smart contracts. 

ETH coders tackled the issues, however, and “all nodes are in agreement” said Van Der Wijden in a tweet. The next step for developers in Shanghai’s first shadow fork is to create evil nodes to further test the update. Evil nodes create invalid blocks and try to pull other network nodes away from the main chain. 

Ethereum Developers Move To Unlock 16 Million Staked ETH

The Shanghai update currently believed to go live in March 2023 will unlock over 16 million ETH currently staked on Ethereum by validators. Indeed, the massive staked Ether makes up over 13% of ETH’s total supply. 

Developers plan to build in a daily withdrawal cap to cushion the potential price impact from mass withdrawals. The cap is set at around 57,600 ETH per day. Liquid staking platform Lido Finance currently tops the staked ETH leaderboard with over 4.6 million Ether locked through the service. 

The number of validators on ETH’s network also crossed 500,000, a landmark moment as entities prepare for withdrawal functionality with the Shanghai upgrade.

Ethereum Engineers Release Shadow Fork To Test Shanghai's Withdrawal Mechanism 14
ETH/USDT By TradingView