The Ethereum merger – the much-anticipated transition of the blockchain from what it is now proof of work (PoW) mechanism to a Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus algorithm – will get a step closer today if the planned test upgrade on the Ropsten public testnet later in the day goes as planned.
Launched in 2016, Ropsten is Ethereum’s oldest testnet, enabling blockchain development testing prior to mainnet deployment. Similar to other testnets, it is identical to the mainnet with the key difference that no “real” funds are at risk if technical issues arise.
The date for the upgrade was first announced on May 18 by Ethereum Core developer Terence Tsao broke the message This configuration for Ropsten’s Beacon Chain — a PoS network running alongside Ethereum’s mainnet — has been merged, and client releases should be expected soon.
Things moved quickly after that, with another Ethereum developer, Tim Beiko, to announce the launch of a new beacon chain on May 30th and the Bellatrix upgrade – one of the two required conditions for the Ropsten testnet merge –activated on June 2nd.
The developers also had to decide on something called Terminal Total Difficulty (TTD) – a pre-determined difficulty value at which the Ropsten merge occurs, something they determine themselves done the next day Set the value to 50 quadrillion.
As explained von Beiko chose such a high value “due to the low PoW hash rate on testnets and the risk that The Merge happened before the network was ready with the Bellatrix update”.
📣 Ropsten merge update 📣
As mentioned in the Ropsten Merge announcement, the Terminal Total Difficulty (TTD) where The Merge takes place on Ropsten needs to be overridden by node operators and players.
According to the Ethereum Foundation blog entryClient software teams participating in the Ropsten merge include Lighthouse, Lodestar, Prysm, Nimbus, Teku, Besu, Erigon, go-ethereum (geth), and Nethermind.
Today’s Ropsten merge is a crucial step ahead of the actual transition from Ethereum to the Consensus Layer (formerly known as ETH 2.0), which is scheduled for August of this year.
Essentially, it gives developers a first taste of how things will look in the future when Ethereum finally makes the switch to a less power-intensive PoS algorithm mechanism. And it is quite clear that a successful merger on the testnet would bode well for the Ethereum mainnet’s own transition.
“The Ropsten merge is a huge test milestone for the Ethereum mainnet merge later this year,” said Ethereum Core developer Preston van Loon wrote Last month.
However, this process has been in the works for a number of years, with multiple delays causing waves of frustration among the community and investors.
The new PoS model aims to solve some of Ethereum’s biggest problems, such as: High transaction costs and the scalability of the network, so the stakes are indeed high, with the biggest upgrade in Ethereum history – if successful – standing a good chance of becoming the crypto industry’s event of the year.
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