Ethereum devs prepare for the Shanghai upgrade with the launch of a "shadow fork" for testing
(Kitco News) - In preparation for the Ethereum Shanghai update scheduled to be implemented sometime in March, developers for the top smart contract platform have created a testing environment called a "shadow fork," according to Go-Ethereum developer Marius Van Der Wijden.
In a Twitter thread posted by Wijden on Monday, the developer noted that the name of the testnet is "Withdrawal-Mainnet-Shadow-Fork-1," and it is intended to be used to test the conditions needed for Ether staking withdrawals.
The main goal of the Shanghai update is to enable staking withdrawals, which have been disabled since the launch of the beacon chain in Dec. 2020.
As part of the testing process, Van Der Wijden and another developer named "Potuz" have been creating malicious nodes that send bad blocks and messages to other nodes on the testnet and try to convince them to join a false version of the network.
Thus far, the network has managed to successfully navigate the tests and is running smoothly. "We saw 12 bad blocks during the night; none of them were accepted by any client," Van Der Wijden tweeted on Tuesday. "I changed the weights a bit so it will create more issues [with regard to] withdrawals. Let's see if the clients can handle it."
The goal of this testing is to determine if the upgrade can prevent malicious attacks or if additional changes are needed before it is implemented on the mainnet.
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During the 99th Consensus Layer (CL) call on Dec. 1, Ethereum developers decided that they intended to roll out Ethereum staking withdrawals with the upcoming Shanghai hard fork due to the fact that some stakers have had their tokens locked for two years. At that time, the upgrade also included the implementation of "EVM Object Format" (EOF), which is a collection of Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIP) designed to upgrade the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) and make future upgrades easier.
On Jan. 6, developers held another call where they agreed to exclude the planned implementation of EOF from the Shanghai upgrade over concerns that its complexity would delay the implementation of withdrawals.
At the time of writing, data from Beaconcha.in shows that there are 16,149,561 Ether worth approximately $26.19 billion deposited into the Ethereum staking contract and currently unable to be withdrawn. According to Wennerge.com, the Shanghai upgrade will take place on March 31.