Ethereum developers have recorded another milestone on the path to switching the network to a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. On Monday, developers successfully deployed the new Ethereum beacon chain on the Ropsten testnet.
The Ropsten test was ultimately successful, with the beacon chain generating its genesis block post-deployment. At the time of writing, validators have completed eight epochs with at least 100,000 validators and a high 73% voting participation rate.
(Source: BeaconChain Explorer)
What does this mean for the long-awaited Ethereum Merge?
The latest development marks the first time that the beacon chain has been merged with a public testnet. The network upgrade has already been tried on private client implementations such as Kintsugi and Klin. However, the latest success paves the way for Ethereum developers to monitor the network’s performance on an advanced level, with an eye on identifying bugs such as those associated with clients and validators.
For instance, a “mischievous miner” had tried to fast track the recent Ropsten deployment by propping up hashrate on the testnet. However, the developers detected the malicious move and delayed the difficulty bomb to a convenient date. Although this particular issue would be nearly impossible on the Ethereum mainnet, it demonstrates the nature of bugs often associated with such a severe upgrade.
The successful launch of Ropsten increases the prospect of deploying the Merge on other public testnets. Over the coming weeks, Ethereum developers will look to launch the beacon chain on other public testnets including Goerli and Sepolia. Success on these testnets will precede a final deployment on the Ethereum mainnet.
Although the current developments do not affect any known timelines, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin said earlier this month that the mainnet Merge will likely take place in August or later this summer.
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