The widely anticipated Shanghai Upgrade on Ethereum is a step closer to becoming a reality.

On March 14, the Shapella upgrade was activated on Ethereum’s Goerli testnet – the final testing environment before it is deployed on the mainnet. (Learn more about the upgrade in Tuesday’s episode of Unchained with Christine Kim.)

The upgrade was set to be triggered around 10:26 UTC at epoch 162304 but did not finalize until a few hours later due to low validator participation rates. In a developer call, live streamed on YouTube, Ethereum client Teku’s product lead Ben Edgington attributed the low participation rate to validator nodes not upgrading well enough in advance to the Goerli fork that triggered Shapella.

“We had some validators running older versions of clients, once that was fixed the attestation rate went back up and we are currently finalizing,” tweeted Ethereum Foundation developer Parithosh Jayanthi.

Shapella combines the names of Shanghai and Capella, two upcoming hard forks that will be shipped sometime in the first half of 2023. Shanghai is the fork that corresponds to the execution layer, while Capella is the name of the consensus layer’s upgrade.

With Shapella, validators can begin testing out ETH withdrawals from the deposit contract, more than two years after staking ETH on the deposit contract was enabled. 

Data shared by Jayanthi shortly after the upgrade was finalized shows that several validators had already begun testing out the withdrawal feature. As of 8:20 pm ET on Tuesday, 21,601 ETH had been distributed in 4,800 validator withdrawals.

Goerli is the last of three testnets to trial withdrawals. Validators on Sepolia, another Proof-of-Stake testnet, began testing ETH withdrawals after Shapella was deployed last month. Zheijang was the first testnet to successfully simulate ETH withdrawals on Feb. 8, only a week after the network itself went live.