ViaBTC | Ethereum’s Shapella Upgrade: Staking Volume Surges as Investor Confidence Soars
As of May 23, 2023, it has been 250 days since the Merge, and 40 days since the Shapella upgrade. Meanwhile, Ethereum, an open-source decentralized blockchain platform, continues to seek improvement, as it strives to become more scalable, secure, and sustainable through a series of improvement proposals. Some say that the Merge is the cornerstone of Ethereum’s transition to a new stage, while the Shapella upgrade constitutes a crucial step forward in that venture.
The Merge helped Ethereum move from PoW to PoS, eliminating the machine-intensive mining approach. That said, some problems were left unresolved. For example, the post-Merge gas fees have not gone down, and Ethereum’s transaction fees remain expensive. Additionally, users can only deposit ETH, as the withdrawal function was not activated. The Shapella upgrade, on the other hand, introduced the staking withdrawal function, enabling Ethereum validators to withdraw their deposits from the Beacon Chain. This marks the completion of Ethereum’s full transition to PoS.
Still, some price analysts regard the staking withdrawal as a bearish signal. They worry that the massive withdrawal of ETH could create immense selling pressure in the market, leading to a sharp decline in the ETH price. The Shapella upgrade, which commenced on April 13, prompted validators to start withdrawing their staked ETH from the network. In the 24 hours since the upgrade was completed, approximately 96,200 ETH were deposited, while around 202,700 ETH were withdrawn. However, this trend of substantial net outflows did not persist for long.
After a brief period of net outflows, Ethereum’s staked amount started to return to a net inflow state. According to The Block, on April 18, deposits on the Ethereum network exceeded withdrawals, resulting in a net inflow of 70,200 ETH on that day, and deposits have consistently exceeded withdrawals ever since. As of May 23, the total amount of ETH staked on the chain has surpassed 18.53 million, with a staking ratio of 15.32%, far outstripping the total withdrawal amount.
The feared price crash did not materialize either. From the completion of the Shapella upgrade until April 17, the ETH price rose three days in a row, peaking at $2,126, a 13.76% surge compared to the price of $1,869 on April 12, prior to the upgrade. ETH’s strong price performance further demonstrates the confidence of validators in Ethereum’s future development following the Shapella upgrade.
For validators, the ability to independently manage funds according to their own demands and preferences while earning stable returns is crucial. The Shapella upgrade has not only made Ethereum staking more flexible and secure but also turned Ethereum into a much safer and more decentralized network.
Data from Beaconcha.in suggests that as of May 23, Ethereum’s APR stands at 5.834%. On May 5, the figure reached a historic high, peaking at 8.6%. The high APR is very appealing to validators, but the 32 ETH threshold, as well as the knowledge required for running beacon nodes and validator clients, has kept many retail investors out.
Many liquid staking derivatives (LSDs) have emerged to lower the entry barriers of Ethereum staking and improve staking liquidity. At the moment, liquidity staking service provider Lido alone has captured over 77% of the ETH liquidity staking market, with a total ETH staking volume of $12.46 billion. However, we must also remain cautious about the risks associated with centralization.
In a nutshell, we can see that Ethereum is moving in the direction people have been anticipating. “You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick.” This is the message left on the final PoW block of Ethereum. Although Ethereum faces many areas for improvement, the network will provide us with more room for imagination.