The Merge on Ethereum is closer than ever, as the company plans to deploy the transition of the Ropsten testnet to give developers a look at what to expect in the actual merge.
The Merge is the Ethereum network’s highly complicated and long-awaited transition from the Proof of Work (PoW) consensus mechanism to the Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism set to happen in August 2022. The PoW protocol is a less eco-friendly variant that the network currently executes, while the PoW mechanism is a much more environmentally friendly protocol that Ethereum aims to implement.
Ropsten is one of the Ethereum network’s major test networks set to participate in the Merge in June. If the transition of the Ropsten mainnet happens as per the plan, the Ethereum network will move forward with the actual Merge from PoW to PoS mechanism. Testing Ropsten is an important step for Ethereum developers as a lot of money is at stake. “If anything goes wrong, the network will collapse and it won’t end well for anyone as Ethereum network is one of the most used blockchains as well as heavily trafficked,” a core Ethereum developer said.
Core Ethereum developer Tim Beiko said the Merge will introduce a few changes for application and protocol developers, as well as for all Ethereum network users.
Ropsten Testnet’s “First Dress Rehearsal”
Tim Beiko announced last Thursday (May 26) that a new Beacon Chain for the Ropsten mainnet has been launched. It will act as the initial step for the test Merge, which is set to be deployed “around June 8th.”
The Ropsten test network is one of the many testing grounds for developers and clients of the Ethereum network. It mimics features of the Ethereum mainnet such as the use of a valueless form of Ether (ETH) to carry out transactions and the coding ecosystem. However, any changes made on the test network won’t affect the mainnet. Additionally, Ropsten is also Ethereum’s oldest Proof of Work testnet launched back in 2016.
When Ropsten finally goes through its own Merge, it will give a clear idea of what the actual Merge may seem like on the Ethereum mainnet. The overall outcome on the testnet, its applications, and the users will provide developers the first look into what they can expect to happen for the mainnet merge. Moreover, it will also give developers a clear idea of what to do in case any issues arise and prevent the occurrences of future issues.
Beiko further added that there are still a lot of things developers and node runners must consider in order to be prepared for the Ropsten Merge. Once the Ropsten testnet undergoes the Merge, it will determine the mining difficulty of the PoW consensus algorithm, also referred to as the TTD. At present, there are around 12.6 million ETH staked on the Beacon Chain.
If the Ethereum network undergoes the Merge this August, the end goal on the roadmap for Ethereum is its ultimate upgrade set to go live next year. Until then, the network will continue to use its Optimism and Polygon layer-2 networks to manage scalability and high transaction volumes. Irrespective of the hopes of thousands of Ethereum users, the Merge will not lower gas fees on the network.