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What’s in and What’s Out for Ethereum’s Shanghai Upgrade

The Shanghai upgrade, which will enable staking withdrawals, has a tentative timeline of March 2023. A list of EIPs has also been packaged in, but EIP-4844 did not make the cut.

Before implementing the surge-related Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP)-4884, Ethereum core developers prioritized enabling staking withdrawals via the Shanghai upgrade.

According to Cointelegraph, the next key milestone on Ethereum’s roadmap is the Shanghai upgrade, which will enable ETH stakers/validators to withdraw from the Beacon Chain, among other things.

EIP-4884 is also significant and was originally expected to be included with Shanghai, introducing “proto-danksharding” to significantly improve Layer 2 rollup scalability (the surge) ahead of the full implementation of the major sharding upgrade late next year.

However, at the latest Ethereum Core Developers Meeting on December 8, according to Ethereum core developer Tim Beiko, the ultimate consensus was to focus on Shanghai first to avoid any potential delays if EIP-4844 was not ready on time.

Beiko noted in a Twitter thread that everyone agreed on “(1) seeing Shanghai happen quickly, ideally around March, and (2) following this with a fork centered around EIP-4844.”

While EIP-4844 will not be included, the developers have agreed to include a set of EIPs that effectively upgrade the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), including the introduction of a new EVM contract format, code/data separations, and new operation codes.

Beiko noted that because these upgrades, known as EVM Object Format (EOF), are relatively simple to roll back and remove from Shanghai if developers haven’t finished working on it by the time Shanghai is ready for implementation, EOF will simply be removed and shipped later.

Along with Shanghai, a set of previously agreed-upon EIPs will be rolled out, including EIP-3651: Warm Coinbase, EIP-3855: PUSH0 instruction, EIP-3860: Limit and meter initcode, and EIP-4895: Beacon chain push withdrawals as operations.

EIP-3651: Warm Coinbase, in particular, may have some cost-cutting benefits for the network. To avoid confusion with the name of a cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase in this context refers to the software that developers use to receive new tokens on the network.

Every new transaction on the platform requires multiple interactions with the Coinbase software; however, the initial transactions are more expensive because Coinbase requires time to warm up.

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