With the Shanghai upgrade, which is expected to bring about the next major improvements to the Ethereum network’s infrastructure, there will be lower gas fees and a stalled ETH withdrawal. The Shandong testnet is now available. Developers are now able to start working on implementations, which is expected to continue through September 2023.
This is the first major update since Ethereum’s consensus changed to Proof-of-Stake in September, after the Mainnet and Beacon Chains were merged.
The upgrade will also introduce an elemental change in Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), which is the technology that powers network smart contracts. EIP-3540 or EVM object format is one of the most anticipated updates in the community. It separates data from coding, which could prove to be beneficial for onchain validators. Galen Moore, Axelar’s content lead, spoke to Cointelegraph about the idea:
“EIP 3540, from my perspective is the most significant upgrade for Shanghai. It is a step forward in interoperability within Ethereum’s ecosystem. Layer-2 networks on Ethereum currently use a complicated code validation process. EIP 3540 separates data and code, which makes the process more efficient. This is especially important news for the Polygon Supernets, which are dAppchains that were built on Polygon Edge.
EIP-4895 is another proposal that’s expected to be made. This will allow earned rewards and staked Ethereum withdrawals via Beacon Chain. Validators who have staked ETH cannot withdraw funds from their accounts in order to maintain network stability.
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The upgrade will include changes to layer-2 protocols. This will reduce gas prices and equalize block sizes. It will also increase calldata efficiency. Moore noted that:
“When specialized chains are able to build on a Layer-2 such as Polygon and lower the cost of communicating the base chain Ethereum, it reduces gas prices for all users in the ecosystem. This makes it easier to scale horizontally in a manner that spreads the demand.
Cointelegraph reported that the Merge was the first of five steps in the five-part process. Since then, a variety of Ethereum developers, ecosystem participants, and commentators have elaborated on the matter. The Merge’s key innovation is the dramatic reduction in power consumption. Ethereum’s energy use has been reduced by 99%.
The Surge is an important step to increase the scalability and accessibility of the blockchain’s data storage and access. It will be followed by the Verge Purge and Splurge. These are the last three steps of Ethereum’s development, and will take place in the coming years.