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Ethereum Shapella Update: What Does It Mean For ETH?

14 Apr, 2023
Shapella Update

The Ethereum network has just deployed the Shapella hard fork. This long-awaited update enables validators to finally withdraw their staked Ethereum (ETH) from the Beacon Chain. In the lead-up to the update, traders appeared uncertain about whether this would lead to an ETH sell-off, as the market could potentially be flooded with millions of new tokens. However, the initial metrics appear to be painting a different picture. Here’s what has happened with Ethereum since the update so far.

An hour after the hard fork was deployed, 4,333 withdrawals had been carried out for a total of 12,859 Ether, which is less than 0.07% of the ETH staked on the Beacon Chain. Most of the withdrawals were around 3 ETH, suggesting that the majority of withdrawal activity consists of people cashing out their staking rewards.

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So far, the price of ETH has remained stable at around $2000, with no indication of a large amount of ETH being dumped into the market. Currently, just under half of ETH validators — 248,043 out of 559,549 total active users — can withdraw their staked ETH. However, only 3,996 validators made withdrawal requests just after the Shapella hard fork took effect, and the latest data shows a total of 284,622 Ether due for withdrawal by 7,948 validators.

In theory, over 18 million Ether, worth about $34.8 billion at the current exchange rate, could be unlocked after the Shapella fork. However, the Ethereum Foundation has implemented several mechanisms to prevent a market inundation of ETH, and this approach appears to be working, as the price of ETH has moved up slightly (6%) since Shapella.

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ETH has increased in value by 58% over the past year to date as Ethereum moves closer to a fully functional proof-of-stake system, but its market performance lags behind Bitcoin (BTC), and the ETH/BTC price ratio has dropped to 0.063, a nine-month low. The lacklustre performance of ETH could be due to uncertainties surrounding its consensus model transition. The number of withdrawal requests on Ethereum is still crucial to watch for ETH traders, but early signs do not support either a huge price pump or a runaway sell-off as the price looks set to cross the $2,000 resistance level.

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