The Shapella hard fork has been officially implemented on the Ethereum mainnet, allowing Ethereum validators to withdraw their staked Ether $1,915 from the Beacon Chain. The long-awaited upgrade went into effect on April 12 at 10:27 p.m. UTC, at epoch number 194,048.
According to Ethereum block explorer beaconchai.in, a total of 12,859 Ether were freed in 4,333 withdrawals during the first hour of the hard fork. Currently, around 44% of validators, or 248,043 out of a total of 559,549 active validators, can request a partial or full withdrawal.
The majority of withdrawals at this moment vary between 2.8 and 3.2 ETH, indicating that staking rewards are primarily being withdrawn. According to data from Rated Network Explorer, just 3,996 validators joined up for the exit queue moments before the Shapella hard fork took effect.
According to statistics from blockchain analytics firm Nansen, crypto exchange Huobi has 30% of the entire quantity of withdrawable Ether, followed by the decentralized autonomous organization PieDAO at 17.7%. According to Nansen data, a total of 284,622 Ether is awaiting a full withdrawal from 7,948 validators.
The price of Ether, which is currently $1,920, has barely shifted in the first hour of the hard fork, as predicted by blockchain intelligence company Glassnode in an April 11 report. According to the Ethereum Foundation, the hard fork has the potential to unleash 18.1 million Ether on the Beacon Chain, which is presently worth more than $34.8 billion. However, many measures are in place to prevent a rush of ETH from entering the market.
Glassnode anticipated in its analysis that less than 1% of that total will be released during the first week, and the 12,859 Ether unlocked within the first hour equals only 0.07% of the entire Ether invested in the Beacon Chain.
Staked Ether was pushed from the Beacon Chain to the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), also known as the execution layer, via Ethereum Investment Proposal EIP-4895, allowing withdrawals. It is the most significant upgrade since the September 15 Merge, and it brings Ethereum one step closer to a fully functional proof-of-stake system.