Ethereum has taken a long journey in its bid to switch to a proof-of-stake consensus. The switch is expected to take place in 2022, and so far, the Ethereum blockchain has made several upgrades to make this possible.
The latest development in this switch to a PoS is the launch of the Kintsugi public testnet. Tim Beiko, a developer for the Ethereum blockchain, announced the launch of this testnet in a blog post.
Ethereum’s first public testnet
Kintsugi is derived from a Japanese name. The name has its roots in Japanese art, where broken pottery is repaired using gold. The testnet is one of the final stages in developing Ethereum 2.0.
Through this transition, the blockchain will now run through a proof-of-stake consensus, which is believed to be more scalable and eco-friendly. Unlike the proof-of-work consensus that uses energy to validate blocks, PoS relies on validators to lock up tokens to validate transactions and run the network.
This is the only testnet so far that is available to the public. The previous testnets were only available to developers.
In the blog post, Beiko noted, “Although client development and UX continue to be refined, we encourage the community to start using Kintsugi to familiarize themselves with Ethereum in a post-merge context. For application developers, as previously explained, not much will change. Tooling which only interacts with either the consensus or execution layer is also largely unaffected.”
Beiko further notes that Kintsugi will be a longer-lived public testnet. It will allow everyone to experiment with Ethereum, which will create a similar experience as if one is operating through the Ethereum blockchain once it goes live. Some of the functionalities that will be available include testing decentralized finance (DeFi) applications that operate through smart contracts.
Ethereum’s journey towards a PoS
Ethereum has been in its journey to transition to a PoS for almost one year. Some of the developments that have taken place within this time include four devnets that have been launched over the past year.
The initial launch of these developments happened with Phase) that involved the launch of Beacon Chain. Beacon Chain is a protocol that has already offered storage for billions worth of data and value. Beacon Chain operates separately from the ETH mainnet. It is a more scalable alternative, and to bring PoS, it will be merged with Ethereum mainnet.
Beiko added that “existing long-lived testnets will run through The Merge. Once these have upgraded and are stable, next up is Ethereum mainnet’s transition to proof of stake.”
The Merge is the major step for Ethereum towards fully transitioning to a PoS. The Kintsugi testnet will run until it achieves full scalability, just like the other developer testnets. Once the testnets achieve this, Eth 2.0 will be unveiled.
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