The second-to-last testnet, Sepolia, has executed its own merge and moved over to the Proof-of-Stake protocol.
One Step Closer To PoS
Another significant step has been taken towards bringing “The Merge” to the main Ethereum network. The upgrade, which will bring the entire network onto a proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain, has been executed on the Sepolia testnet. Currently, the network operates on a Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus mechanism, which is much more energy-intensive. It involves network operators, called miners, to solve complex mathematical problems to verify and validate transactions. The move to the PoS mechanism would completely switch how the network functions and make the entire validation process much cheaper and quicker. The upgrade will also reduce Ethereum’s energy consumption levels by a whopping 99.95%.
Shadow Fork Testing
The upgrade, which has been dubbed “The Merge” by the Ethereum community, has been a long time coming. It has already battled several delays, and progress has been slow. However, as of now, The Merge is scheduled to happen by the end of 2022 and the steady progress on all the testnets indicates that things are on track. Other than the public testnets, The Merge has also been tested on a private mainnet, known as the Shadow Fork. The testing happened back in April as a measure to see how the nodes react in the harshest possible conditions, especially when their state and history are large and transactions are the most complex. The test results were mostly positive and gave the engineers the opportunity to address minor issues.
The Sepolia Merge
Public networks like Ethereum always run trials of new upgrades on test networks, i.e., testnets, before rolling it out on its main network or mainnet. The Sepolia testnet is the second-to-last one, with just one more testnet (Goerli) remaining before the entire network completes The Merge. The upgrade has now been deployed on two of the three public testnets, the previous one being the Ropsten testnet, which happened back in June.
The Sepolia merge was a two-step process that was set into motion once the operators updated their consensus layer and execution layer clients together. The two phases were then activated, the first at an epoch height on the Beacon Chain and the second upon hitting the Terminal Total Difficulty (TTD) level on the execution layer. The update was done on Wednesday and has not shown up any significant glitches since then.
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