The Next Major Ethereum Upgrade, Shanghai, Now Has a Testnet

Ethereum developers can start testing out their next upgrades to the protocol on the new “Shandong” test network (testnet).

The Shanghai upgrade, for which Shandong is the testnet, is projected to happen at some point in 2023. It will be Ethereum’s first upgrade since the Merge in September, when Ethereum transitioned from a proof-of-work consensus mechanism to a proof-of-stake model.

Right now, some Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIP) being considered for inclusion in Shanghai could address some efficiency and scalability issues. Perhaps the most anticipated proposal is EIP 4895, which will allow for those who have staked ether (ETH) on the Beacon Chain to withdraw their stake, along with any rewards they have earned over time.

Right now, anyone who staked ether as part of the validator process on the Beacon Chain has not been able to withdraw their stake or their rewards directly. Instead, anyone hoping to access those funds has had to rely on liquidity tokens representing their assets.

Also under consideration is EIP 4844, which introduces proto-danksharding. This proposal will allow for more data to be processed on the network and therefore decrease gas prices.

EIP 3540, which is related to one of the EIPs included in Ethereum’s London upgrade (EIP 3541), will deal with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), the software that is used for Ethereum smart contracts. This proposal will allow for code and data to be separated, and will make it easier for future changes to be made to EVM.

Parithosh Jayanthi, a DevOps engineer at the Ethereum Foundation, told CoinDesk that “the Shandong testnet is meant to give developers a chance to try out the potential EIPs to find issues.”

The final list of EIPs that will be considered for inclusion in the Shanghai upgrade won’t be finalized for a while. Jayanthi said, “I think it’ll be one of the major talking points once All Core Developers calls start again.”

Read more: Ethereum After the Merge: What Comes Next?