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A testnet that will demonstrate Ethereum staking withdrawals is set to go live on Wednesday, according to statements from developers on Jan. 30.
Ethereum Foundation members Parithosh Jayanthi and Barnabas Busa said the Zhejiang testnet will go live on Feb. 1 at 15:00 UTC. The Shanghai and Capella upgrade will be triggered on the testnet six days later (at epoch 1350 on the blockchain).
Once the process is complete, validators can try out staking withdrawals in a practice environment without real funds. Validators can convert between credentials, test partial and full withdrawals, and fully exit their validator node.
Ethereum currently supports most other staking-related features. Users can now stake 32 ETH ($55,200) to operate a validator node. That feature has been available since developers launched Ethereum’s beacon chain in December 2020. Users have also been able to earn staking rewards since September 2022’s Merge upgrade.
Despite those capabilities, Ethereum does not allow validators to withdraw staked ETH. This limitation was introduced to ensure the strength of the staking network.
The absence of staking withdrawals is one reason liquid staking services, such as those offered by Lido and Coinbase, have become prominent. While users of these platforms may be prevented from withdrawing their staked ETH, they also issue a corresponding “liquid” token that can be invested freely elsewhere. Some liquid tokens have seen price movement due to the upcoming staking withdrawal upgrade.
The Zhejiang testnet is the next step toward introducing proper staking withdrawals on Ethereum. Recent developer calls suggest that the feature will be introduced on the mainnet in March. However, there is still no definite date for the upgrade.