The upgrade is only for the Sepolia network, with a subsequent upgrade for the Goerli network to be introduced in March.
Ethereum core developer Tim Beiko announced the Shapella upgrade is scheduled for Feb. 28. The Shapella network upgrade will activate on the Sepolia network at epoch 56832.
Shanghai and Capella (Shapella) are the upcoming Ethereum hard fork names. Shanghai is the fork’s name on the execution layer client side, and Capella is the upgrade name on the consensus layer client side.
Some key Ethereum improvement proposal (EIP) changes on the execution layer include warm coinbase (not to be confused with the crypto exchange) and Beacon Chain push withdrawals. The push withdrawals will allow validator withdrawals from the Beacon Chain to the Ethereum Virtual Machine via a new “system-level” operation type. On the other hand, warm coinbase could be a game changer that reduces network fees for builders.
Coinbase is the name of the software that builders use to receive new tokens on the network. Every new platform transaction must interact with the coinbase software multiple times. The first interaction costs more as the software needs to “warm” up, with fees declining as the interactions increase. However, with the introduction of EIP-3651, the coinbase software will remain warm to begin with, requiring a lower gas fee to access it.
Related: Ethereum on-chain data suggests ETH sell pressure could be a non-event after the Shanghai upgrade
Major changes to the consensus layer include full and partial withdrawals for validators and independent state and block historical accumulators, replacing the original singular historical roots.
Partial withdrawal means validators can withdraw Ether (ETH) rewards in excess of 32 Ether and keep validating. If they want a full withdrawal, validators can fully exit, take all 32 Ether and rewards, and stop doing the work.
The upcoming upgrade would enable validators to withdraw their staked Ether (stETH) from the Beacon Chain to the execution layer. Moreover, the upgrade would bring changes to the execution and consensus layers, adding new features, making it a key upgrade following the Merge.
Stakers and non-stakers who operate nodes must, however, upgrade their nodes to the most recent Ethereum client versions to take advantage of the Sepolia upgrade. After the deployment of the Sepolia upgrade, the next step would be the release of the Shanghai upgrade on the Ethereum Goerli test network, expected to commence in March.