- Ethereum’s Ropsten testnet has been successfully merged with its Beacon chain.
- Ropsten is considered one of the most faithful replicas of Ethereum; Its smooth transition bodes well for the prospects of switching from proof-of-stake to proof-of-stake mainnets.
- The Ethereum merge is tentatively scheduled for August, but could be pushed back to September or October.
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The Ropsten proof-of-work testnet has merged with its Proof-of-Stake Beacon chain, finalizing one of the last walkthroughs ahead of the Ethereum mainnet transition.
Ropsten completes testnet merge
Ethereum’s Ropsten testnet today successfully merged with its Beacon chain, bringing the network one step closer to the much-anticipated mainnet merge.
The testnet operation, which took place at 16:10 UTC, is a significant milestone in a long technological process colloquially known as a “merge” in the crypto space. The merge will see Ethereum abandon its current proof-of-work consensus model in favor of a more energy-efficient proof-of-stake. Among other things, the upgrade is expected to reduce the ETH token emission rate by about 90%.
The Ropsten testnet, created in 2016 and named after a metro station in Stockholm, was notable for being Ethereum’s only proof-of-work testnet, and was considered one of the best replicas of the Ethereum mainnet. It previously launched its own beacon chain on May 30 in preparation for today’s merge trial run.
Ropsten’s proximity to the mainnet allows developers to perform realistic testing on it before deploying it to the mainnet. So the successful development of the Ropsten testnet for a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism bodes well for its upcoming transition to the Ethereum mainnet.
However, there are a few more steps left before the mainnet merge. Two more Ethereum testnets, Goerly and Cepolia, will undergo their merge, and the current difficulty bomb may have to be set back. The difficulty bomb sharply increases the mining difficulty of the Ethereum proof-of-work chain to encourage nodes to switch to the post-merge proof-of-stake chain. If Ethereum developers take too long to prepare for the merge, they will need to postpone the difficulty bomb to keep the network working until the merge is done. DThe developers on the Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) forum have already suggested to postpone the difficulty bomb until mid-August.
Ethereum developer Preston Van Loon previously said the merger could happen in August, although Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin also gave a more conservative estimate of September or October. After today’s successful Ropsten testnet merge, the August mainnet merge seems more likely now. However, it is worth noting that previous network upgrades have faced several delays. With increasing pressure, Ethereum developers will be eager to ensure that the network’s biggest update to date executes flawlessly.
Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this article owns ETH and several other cryptocurrencies.