The Ropsten testnet on the Ethereum network is ready to set the stage for the “first dress rehearsal” of the Merge to adopt the proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism.
Core Ethereum developer Tim Beiko announced on Tuesday that a new Beacon Chain for Ropsten has been launched. It will serve as the precursor for the final test Merge, which is expected to be “around June 8th.”
The Ropsten testnet is one of many testing grounds for Ethereum clients. It mimics aspects of the Ethereum mainnet including the use of a valueless form of Ether (ETH) to execute transactions and the coding environment, but changes made there do not affect the mainnet.
Ropsten is also Ethereum’s longest-lived proof-of-Work (PoW) testnet which launched in 2016.
When Ropsten finally undergoes its own Merge, it will be a first look at what the real Merge may look like on the Ethereum mainnet. The resulting effects on the testnet, its applications and clients will give developers first-ever glimpses into what they can expect to happen for the mainnet Merge and how to prevent problems from arising.
Beiko said that there are still several things developers and node runners must prepare for in the time leading up to the Ropsten Merge date. The Beacon Chain must launch the latest upgrade, and the mining difficulty, known as the TTD, of the PoW side must be determined.
The upgrade will come first followed by the TTD, which “should be chosen by June ⅔,” added Beiko.
The Merge is one of the most highly anticipated events in the history of the Ethereum network because it will accomplish several goals. It will convert Ethereum’s PoW consensus algorithm to PoS, will make the network vastly more energy-efficient and change the name of the network to the Consensus Layer, formerly known as Eth2. It is expected to take place in August this year.
Despite the hopes of thousands of Ethereum users, the Merge is not expected to reduce gas fees on the network.