Ethereum development teams have been hard at work prepping for Ethereum 2.0, the proof-of-stake platform aimed at speeding up, lowering the cost, and reducing the energy consumption of blockchain transactions.
While ETH2 is not yet ready, its first major testnet is, giving the public a glimpse into how the network may someday operate.
On the Ethereum Foundation blog today, Tim Beiko, who oversees the Ethereum core developers, unveiled the Kintsugi testnet. Kintsugi is a Japanese term for repairing shattered artefacts with gold without concealing the damage; the term implies a feeling of transparency about an object’s past.
While the Ethereum network is not broken in its present configuration, it is a victim of its own success. After pioneering decentralised banking apps, NFTs, and even blockchain-based games, some customers are turned off by network transaction prices. Swapping assets peer-to-peer or bidding on digital treasures on-chain consumes some of the network’s energy—to expedite transactions, users must pay higher fees or wait when the blockchain is less active.
Ethereum 2.0 addresses this issue. It converts the network from a proof-of-work system similar to Bitcoin, in which transactions are validated by “miners,” to a proof-of-stake one in which users safeguard the network by staking part of their ETH. While both miners and stakers get incentives, Ethereum’s proof-of-stake scheme also increases the amount of network space accessible.
The upgrade’s first phase began in December with the unveiling of the Beacon Chain, which will ultimately be used to connect the existing network to the new one. And the new network has already attracted billions of dollars in ETH stakes.
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To preparation for the merging, engineers have built four temporary testnets that replicate how the network will operate once proof of stake is implemented. Kintsugi, on the other hand, is here to stay and is intended for usage by all members of the public, not just knowledgeable developers.
“While client development and user experience are still being developed, we urge the community to begin utilising Kintsugi to get acquainted with Ethereum in a post-merger scenario,” Beiko added.
The majority are hopeful that things are in good enough form to make “#testingthemerge” a short procedure, allowing for the usage of other testnets, such as Görli and Rinkeby, to replicate the transfer.
“Once they have been improved and stabilised,” Beiko said, “the Ethereum mainnet’s switch to proof of stake will follow.”