Software developers for Ethereum, the world’s second-largest blockchain, on Monday said they successfully deployed a copy of the blockchain — or “shadow fork” — to run tests of the upcoming Shanghai hardfork upgrade scheduled for March.

See related article: It’s Ethereum forking time

Fast facts

  • The shadow fork was applied successfully, with only a few minor glitches on Geth clients — software used by nodes to operate the blockchain — according to Marius Van Der Wijden, a software developer at the Ethereum Foundation. The glitches have since been corrected, he said.
  • A shadow fork is a copy of the blockchain used to run tests before creating the public testnet. As part of this shadow fork, data will be copied from the protocol to a testing environment through a number of test forks. The public testnet for Shanghai will go live in the coming days.
  • The Shanghai upgrade will be the first hardfork on Ethereum since the “Merge” took place in September last year, when the blockchain transitioned from a “proof-of-work” (PoW) consensus mechanism to a “proof-of-stake” (PoS) method.
  • This upgrade will allow the roughly 16 million Ether (roughly US$26.6 billion) that has been staked into the network to be unlocked, according to Etherscan.
  • There is some concern within the crypto industry that once the Shanghai upgrade goes live there will be increased sell pressure on the token from the sudden availability of 16 million unlocked Ether.
  • The argument against that is the 16 million Ether represents only 13.2% of the total circulating supply of the cryptocurrency, far lower than many other tokens that use a PoS method. Additionally, other staking options for Ether have been available to investors for quite some time.

See related article: All aboard the good ship Ethereum for The Merge. Next stop?