Final stretch for the long-awaited update The Merge. Ropsten, the Ethereum blockchain (ETH) reference testnet has officially moved from Proof of Work (PoW) to Proof of Stake (PoS). According to the developers, the migration went smoothly, but a battery of tests still need to be performed in order to optimize the mainnet upgrade.
Ropsten officially migrates to Proof of Stake (PoS)
The long-awaited move from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus on the Ethereum blockchain today marks an important milestone in its journey, and more broadly in the cryptocurrency world.
Ropsten, Ethereum’s oldest test network, has officially migrated to proof-of-stake consensus. While various compatibility tests still need to be implemented, the network upgrade went off without any major issues, and is one of the last tests before Ethereum officially migrates to the same model.
In an interview with our colleagues at Fortune magazine, Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, confirms that this is a historic step:
“We hope this will be a good demonstration of how far we’ve come. If all goes well, it means we’re only one small step away from stopping Merge on the main network.”
Tim Beiko, one of Ethereum’s lead developers, also celebrated the news from his Twitter account, stating that transactions were running smoothly, aside from a few misplaced block proposals.
Although various batteries of tests still need to be conducted especially on the testnets Kiln, Rinkeky, then finally Goerli and Sepolia. Ropsten is considered the closest network to Ethereum in terms of structure, so its migration marks a very encouraging sign, the 2 networks being extremely similar.
Vitalik Buterin said that if these test sets go well, Ethereum’s migration to proof-of-stake could be considered in August.
What’s at stake in this long-awaited migration?
Currently, the Ethereum blockchain operates through proof-of-work (PoW) consensus, which involves block mining in the same way as the Bitcoin (BTC) network.
However, this is a method that has many drawbacks, not least in terms of energy consumption and scalability (the ability of the network to adapt to transaction flows).
The move to proof-of-stake therefore implies its share of advantages, including perhaps somewhat reduced transaction fees, the latter being almost permanently high, to the point of being recognized today as a major brake on wider adoption.
Ethereum’s migration to Proof of Stake involves working with the Beacon chain, which already operates on PoS and acts as a “consensus layer”. In other words, the migration requires a merger of the 2 networks, and all of these tests serve to measure how to optimize their common assimilation.
The 2 networks are already working together, but they are still quite distinct. The Beacon chain has its own validators and already produces blocks, but in parallel to Ethereum.
Moreover, a stop of the PoW necessarily implies the stop of the blocks mining. This is why miners who have previously deposited 32 ETH on the dedicated deposit contract will automatically switch to the role of validator in order to produce the new blocks.
We also notice that tools like Etherscan have adapted accordingly. For example, on the transaction pages, the miner status has been replaced by “fee recipient”.
Finally, we should have news very soon about The Merge update, which has already been postponed many times, but which seems to be finally ready for the final stretch.