Ethereum Goerli testnet merge goes live before moving to proof-of-stake

Ethereum is the second largest cryptocurrency in the world and rivals Bitcoin.


Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency by market value, has just held one final dress rehearsal ahead of a years-anticipated upgrade billed as one of the most important events in crypto history.

Since its inception nearly a decade ago, Ethereum has been mined through what is known as a proof-of-work model. These are complex mathematical equations that huge numbers of machines race to solve, and it needs a lot of energy. Bitcoin mining follows a similar process.

Ethereum has been working to transition to a new model of securing the network called Proof of Stake. Rather than relying on energy-intensive mining, the new method requires users to leverage their existing ether cache to verify transactions and mint tokens. It uses a lot less power and is said to translate into faster transactions.

The final test took place around 9:45 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

Ansgar Dietrichs, researcher at the Ethereum Foundation, said in a tweet that the most relevant metric to success when it comes to a dry run like this is time to completion. He called it “another successful test.”

A researcher at Galaxy Digital pointed out that after the test merge, the participation rate dropped and it appeared there was a problem with one of the clients – but overall it worked.

“A successful merge = chain is completing”, wrote Christine Kim in a tweetadding that we’ll likely see similar types of issues with the upgrade on mainnet, “but the point is the merge worked.”

The time of The upgrade will be discussed at a meeting of Ethereum core developers on Thursday. Previous guidance indicated that the merger should come into effect in mid-September.

The Ethereum transition has been repeatedly postponed over the past few years. Core developers tell CNBC that the merger is progressing slowly to allow enough time for research, development and implementation.

The price of Ether, the token native to the Ethereum blockchain, has been on an uptrend over the past month, up nearly 80%, including a 10% gain over the past 24 hours to around $1,875. However, it’s still down about half this year.

Here’s what happened

One of Ethereum’s testnets or testnets called Goerli (named after a train station in Berlin) simulated a process identical to what the mainnet or mainnet will be running in September.

Testnets allow developers to try new things and make necessary tweaks before the updates are rolled out to the main blockchain. Wednesday night’s exercise showed that the proof-of-stake validation process significantly reduces the energy required to verify a block of transactions, and also proved that the fusion process works.

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“Görli has this badge of a bottom-up testnet”, said Josef Je, a developer who has worked with the Ethereum Foundation and now runs a permissionless peer-to-peer lending platform called PWN. Je added that it is also the most used testnet at this point.

Je said the Proof of Stake on Goerli will be almost identical to how things will go on mainnet.

That The Ethereum Foundation blog says Goerli is “the closest thing to mainnet, which can be useful for testing smart contract interactions.”

Recognize the mistakes

Tim Beiko, the coordinator for Ethereum’s protocol developers, told CNBC that they typically know if a test was successful “within minutes.” But they will also be on the lookout for many potential configuration issues over the coming hours and days so they can fix them quickly.

“We want the network to be completed and have a high participation rate among validators, and also make sure we don’t encounter any unexpected bugs or problems,” Beiko said.

The easiest metric to track is the participation rate, which is how many validators are online and doing their duties, Beiko said. When the numbers drop, developers need to figure out why.

Another important issue concerns transactions. Ethereum processes transactions in groups known as blocks. Beiko said a clear indicator that the test went well will be whether the blocks contain actual transactions and are not empty.

The final major check is whether the network will be finalized, meaning more than two-thirds of validators are online and agree with the same view of the chain’s history. According to Beiko, it takes 15 minutes under normal network conditions.

“If those three things look good, then there’s a long list of secondary things to check, but things are going well at this point,” Beiko said.

‘Easier to access’ Ethereum Goerli testnet merge goes live before moving to proof-of-stake

Joshua Buckhalter

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