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Ethereum’s Shanghai Upgrade to Enable Withdrawals Set for April - BLOOMBERG

MARCH 16, 2023

(Bloomberg) -- Ethereum’s next major software upgrade, which could make crypto’s biggest commercial highway more attractive to investors and developers alike, will take place around April 12. 

Called Shanghai, it will let people who pledged their Ether tokens to order transactions on the Ethereum blockchain to withdraw them. Currently, some 17.5 million of such so-called staked Ether, worth about $29 billion at current prices, can’t be accessed on the network, although the coins do earn their owners a yield.

Ethereum software developers have been working on Shanghai for months, and have finally been able to set the date after deploying a final software test earlier this week. Developers confirmed the target date during a call on Thursday.

Once Shanghai launches, that’s expected to kick off a wave of withdrawals, though they will be limited to ensure the network’s continued security. Waiting in line to withdraw could take weeks or months. However, many investors stake through crypto platforms such as Lido, which already give them some flexibility with their coins.

“I doubt we’ll see a surge of withdrawals to sell the underlying Ether,” said Henry Elder, head of decentralized finance at Wave Digital Assets. “Stakers, especially the earliest and most illiquid ones, are generally the most committed participants in the Ethereum ecosystem.”

Still, Shanghai will give investors choosing to stake their Ether more flexibility — and could potentially make Ether a more attractive investment.

“I think there could be some short-term disruption in ETH prices as the market tries to decipher withdrawal data, but ultimately this is a positive catalyst,” Elder said. “It de-risks ETH by allowing withdrawals.”   

Since users were first able to stake in late 2020, Ethereum’s price has been on a roller-coaster ride, as it roughly doubled. But many users who purchased Ether at its peak in late 2021 are deep under water and still can’t withdraw staked coins.

Ethereum went through the Merge — a software upgrade to allow staking on the main network — in September.


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