Anxious Ethereum Stakeholders Wonder When They’ll Be Able to Access Funds


Rumors emerged on Twitter last week claiming that the Ethereum Foundation is pushing back its timeline for the removal of staked ether (ETH) from the Beacon chain. In these volatile times for the crypto industry, when many services including FTX, BlockFi, and Genesis have halted crypto withdrawals and appear to be collapsing, it is understandable that stakers are wary of any perceived delay in access to their funds.

So what’s up?

Leading Ethereum developers generally agree that the goal was always to open staked ETH withdrawals as part of “Shanghai,” the next update to its development roadmap.

This article originally appeared in Valid pointsCoinDesk’s weekly newsletter outlining the evolution of Ethereum and its impact on the crypto markets. Subscribe to receive it in your inbox every Wednesday.

But a definitive date for withdrawals? This has not yet been defined. Ethereum core developers have always been hesitant to put a date for the upgrade. After all, implementing a hard fork upgrade is no simple task. Before the code is delivered, it will have to go through testing and the developers will have to debug any issues in the implementation.

Anyone who has followed Ethereum at any point in its seven-year history knows that the protocol is known for perpetually lagging behind and pushing the deadlines further and further into the future.

Read more: Why Ethereum’s ‘Difficulty Bomb’ Has Been Delayed Again

Ethereum retired its old model, proof-of-work, which used miners to add new blocks of transactions to the ledger. Since the September 15 merger, the blockchain has adopted a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, which uses validators to approve these blocks instead.

Validators began staking 32 ETH in the Beacon chain before the merger to participate in the block validation process: part of the agreement was that everything ether staked and all accumulated rewards would remain locked in the Beacon Chain smart contract until the next upgrade, which would occur at some point after the merger.

This upgrade, Shanghai, should include the mechanism by which these rewards will be released. There was a planned implementation for six to 12 months after the merger, according to the Ethereum Foundation website. But last week, followers noticed that the language had changed: The Foundation’s website no longer had a proposed timeline.

Tim Beiko, head of protocol support at the Ethereum Foundation (EF), told CoinDesk that the initial projection of “six to 12 months is the ‘historical average’ time between upgrades on Ethereum. I don’t see why. this upgrade would take longer, but we’re not far enough along in the process to talk about key network rollout dates.

This change in language, even if it is harmless, does not please ETH players at the moment. They want to know exactly when they will be able to access their funds, and the lack of details seems to make them nervous.

Imagine having no time limit to withdraw your money. #Ethereum

Is this a next level mat? 😅 pic.twitter.com/ciQPhuive5

— Duo Nine | discord.gg/ycc (@DU09BTC) November 16, 2022

“I don’t monitor daily changes on Ethereum.org (which has contributions from hundreds of people, not just EF), but there have been no changes in the status of the withdrawals: they are included in the next network upgrade, as can be seen in the runtime and consensus layer specifications,” Beiko said.

Ethereum developers say they are determined to make withdrawals a priority for Shanghai. “There are always talks about timelines and moving things around, but I don’t think there’s ever been more consensus among core developers to push back withdrawals. It has been and always will be included in the next fork,” Parithosh Jayanthi, DevOps engineer at the Ethereum Foundation, told CoinDesk. “I don’t see a scenario where withdrawals aren’t shipped on the next fork.”

More in Shanghai than staking?

The Shanghai upgrade is the next in a long series of hard forks shaping the Ethereum ecosystem. And it’s not necessarily a one-issue upgrade.

While staked ETH withdrawals seem to be universally accepted for inclusion in Shanghai, there are other Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) that are under consideration for inclusion. For example, EIP-4844, also known as proto-danksharding, could be a first step in making the network more scalable through sharding, a method that divides the network into other databases, or “shards.” , as a way to increase capacity and lower gas costs.

But the developers still don’t know if proto-danksharding will be included in Shanghai or in a later upgrade. They are collecting data now to see how difficult it is to implement EIP-4844.

“I think if EIP-4844 seems too difficult to achieve, we will split it into a simple withdrawal range + a larger 4844 range later in the year. Currently our focus is on trying to ship the two together, pending data collection,” Jayanthi said.

At the upcoming All Core Developers Call this week, Ethereum developers will likely decide which EIPs, including EIP-4844, will come to Shanghai. Then, once that decision is made, all Shanghai EIPs will go through a rigorous testing process to ensure the upgrade is ready for the mainnet.

Progress on this front is already underway. In October, the Shanghai testnet, Shandong, went live. There, developers will have the ability to ensure that the new code is secure and works properly.

Read more: What to expect from the next big Ethereum update

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.




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