Ethereum, possibly the most important commercial highway in the digital-asset sector, successfully completed its Shanghai upgrade Wednesday to enable investors to withdraw the staked ETH for the first time.

"The Shanghai/Shapella Upgrade is complete. Deposits & withdrawals for ETH, OP, ARB and ERC-20 tokens via the Ethereum, Optimism, and Arbitrum networks are now back online," Binance said in a tweet Wednesday. Ethereum completed the major upgrade at 6:27 p.m. EST.

It is the blockchain's most ambitious software upgrade ever, representing a fundamental overhaul of how Ethereum functions, and one of the most crucial events in the crypto industry this year.

Hardly half an hour after the Shanghai upgrade went live, about 285 withdrawals in epoch 194,408 were processed for about 5,413 ETH worth $10 million, as per

The upgrade will not flood the market with ETH but only permit 1,350 full validators to withdraw their stake each day over the next 18 months, CryptoSlate reported. It is unlikely that all validators will be able to withdraw their ETH, considering each of them stakes 32 ETH, and no more than 43,200 ETH ($83 million at current prices) can enter the market in a single day. At least 4,799 validators and 170,689 ETH are waiting for a full exit, according to Nansen data.

Investors will be able to gain access to over $33 billion of ETH under the revamp, considering 15% of all ether is staked, totaling $33.73 billion in market value.

"The only thing certain is that the Shanghai hard fork will bring about some short-term volatility," said Robert Quartly-Janeiro, chief strategy officer at crypto exchange Bitrue.

However, a section of the market has expressed concern that unlocking staked coins could result in massive withdrawals and a wave of selling, which could rapidly reduce the prices.

Additionally, the Shanghai upgrade, also known as Shapella, consists of other significant improvements, including features that will minimize contract size and risks, the creation of a basis for conditional or cancellable payments and reforms to lower gas fees for developers.

"We're in a stage where the hardest and fastest parts of the Ethereum protocol's transition are basically over. Very significant things still need to be done, but those very significant things can be safely done at a slower pace," said Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of the Ethereum blockchain, during a live stream.

Founded in 2013, Ethereum underwent an important upgrade called the Merge in September 2022. It allowed the blockchain to fully transform from proof-of-work (also known as mining) to proof-of-stake. Even as Merge fostered a complete transformation to staking, validators were able to deposit their stake as early as November 2020.

Ethereum has gained exponential popularity in decentralized finance applications to offer necessary services while avoiding traditional industry gatekeepers like banks.

The next major Ethereum is titled Cancun and it will feature proto-dank sharding with the aim of improving scalability by enhancing fees and transaction times.

Illustration shows representations of cryptocurrency Ethereum