JPMorgan Labels Ethereum's Shanghai Upgrade 'Disappointing' in Network Activity
JPMorgan's recent research report has cast a critical eye on Ethereum's Shanghai upgrade, which was implemented in April. According to the bank's analysis, this upgrade has not delivered the expected boost in network activity on the world's largest smart contract blockchain.
The Shanghai upgrade was anticipated to revitalize Ethereum, but JPMorgan's analysts, led by Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, suggest that the results have been underwhelming. Despite the transition from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS) as a result of the Merge upgrade, which significantly reduced energy consumption by over 99%, the network's activity has not seen the desired increase.
Key findings from JPMorgan's report include:
1. Ethereum's daily transaction count has fallen by 12% since the implementation of the Shanghai upgrade.
2. Daily active addresses on the Ethereum network have dropped nearly 20%.
3. The total value locked (TVL) in decentralized finance (DeFi) on Ethereum has declined by almost 8%.
The bank speculates that various "bearish forces" from the past year, such as the Terra and FTX collapses, the U.S. regulatory crackdown on cryptocurrencies, and a shrinking stablecoin ecosystem, may have outweighed the positive impact of the Shanghai upgrade.
While staking has increased by 50% since the upgrade, contributing to enhanced network security, JPMorgan points out that the prevalence of liquid staking protocols, like Lido, raises concerns about centralization within the network.
The Merge upgrade, which occurred in September 2022, marked the transition from a more energy-intensive PoW consensus mechanism to PoS. The Shanghai upgrade, on the other hand, took place in April this year and enabled the withdrawal of staked ether (stETH). DeFi encompasses various financial activities conducted on the blockchain, including lending and trading, while TVL represents the total value of crypto assets locked in DeFi protocols.
The report also notes that there is hope for a potential increase in Ethereum network activity with the upcoming EIP-4844 upgrade, also known as Protodanksharding, scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year. However, JPMorgan cautions that ongoing bearish trends in the crypto market could continue to pose challenges for Ethereum's resurgence.
The critical assessment by JPMorgan underscores the complex dynamics at play within the Ethereum ecosystem as it navigates various technological upgrades and market fluctuations.