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Exploring why Ethereum’s Shanghai testnet hasn’t been a smooth sail

  • A look at the key challenges that developers have encountered in the days leading up to the Shanghai upgrade.
  • Why challenges faced may not necessarily be a concern to the timeline.

The Ethereum network is slated to end February with another major upgrade dubbed the Shanghai upgrade.

It will facilitate liquid staking, which is why it is heavily anticipated. As such, its development and successful rollout is very important.

Historically, we have seen delays pertaining to some past upgrades, usually associated with challenges in the development process.

The current development process for the Shanghai upgrade too has had its fair share of challenges according to Ethereum All Core Developers Execution Call (ACDE).

The problem with empty blocks

One of the biggest challenges that developers faced recently is s bug in the Geth EL client for the Shanghai release.

Preliminary findings revealed that Geth nodes were off-sync due to empty blocks. The Geth (EL) client has reportedly ironed out the bugs.

No more zero blob transactions

The ACDE call also created an opportunity for developers to discuss how to deal with large binary data types called blobs within the mempool and Ethereum protocol.

One idea was to mark transactions with zero-blob transaction types that require specialized logic.

After discussing the ideas around Zero blob transactions, developers opted to scrap the idea altogether. This is because they agreed that the ideas presented as solutions would add more complexity

Péter Szilágyi, a Geth (EL) developer had this to say about zero-blob transactions:

“The theory is super nice, super elegant, and insanely complicated. You can have a lot of large transactions in a block but you can only have one or two blob transactions in a block. That’s a huge behavioral differentiation.”

Will these challenges affect Ethereum’s Shanghai testnet timeline?

So far the challenges faced do not necessarily threaten the state of the network moving forward.

Moreover, worth noting is that the ACDE call also demonstrated the rapid nature of solutions and problem-solving that Ethereum developers demonstrated.

This suggests that the Shanghai testnet launch is still on track to roll out on 28 February.

Challenges in the development process are common and expected. They play an important role in the improvement process. In the meantime, a successful rollout will likely boost interest in liquidity-staking platforms like LIDO.

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