After months of delays, Ethereum validators can finally withdraw their staked Ether and rewards from the Ethereum Mainnet.
The long-awaited upgrade took effect at 10:27 PM UTC on April 12 at epoch number 194,048.
Within the first 20 minutes of the hard fork, a total of 3,355 Ether were unlocked from 1,101 withdrawals, according to Ethereum block explorer beaconchai.in.
Currently, around 44% of validators, or 244,603 of the total active 562,572, can request a partial or full withdrawal.
The majority of withdrawals at this time are ranging between 2.8 to 3.2 ETH, which suggests that its mostly rewards that are being withdrawn at this time.
Through Ethereum Investment Proposal EIP-4895, staked ETH was pushed from the Beacon Chain to the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) otherwise known as the execution layer, making withdrawals possible.
It is the most significant upgrade since The Merge on Sept. 15 and it moves Ethereum one step closer towards a fully functional proof-of-stake system.
The hard fork can theoretically unlock 18.1 million Ether, currently equating to over $34.8 billion.
However several mechanisms are in place to prevent a flood of the ETH supply from hitting the market, according to the Ethereum Foundation.
The Ethereum Foundation hosted an official watch party for the Shapella hard fork.