Ethereum’s public testnet Sepolia is now the second major testnet to implement the long-awaited Merge upgrade. This brings the entire protocol a step closer to changing its consensus mechanism from proof of work (POW) to proof of stake (POS).
- The upgrade involved “merging” the existing Sepolia POW chain with the POS-based beacon chain. The beacon chain – or “consensus layer” – launched in December of 2020, and still can’t be used for any reason besides staking ETH.
- The upgrade took place at approximately 2 pm UTC on Wednesday, after node operators on both the POW and POS chains collaboratively upgraded their software.
- This experiment was meant to test whether the validator nodes from each chain were compatible. A similar test was run on Ethereum’s Ropsten testnet in early June and was mostly successful.
- Terence Tsao – an Ethereum core developer – summarized that Wednesday’s upgrade was also a success.
- However, about 25%-30% of validators went offline shortly after the merge took place, due to incorrect configurations. They’ve since applied the appropriate updates.
“There’s no client bug. These hiccups will not delay the merge,” he explained.
- Transitioning Ethereum to proof of stake is expected to make the network far more efficient, regarding both its energy expenditure and transaction speed.
- At the moment, it’s quite common to see Ethereum transactions fail. Over 1 million transactions that had already been paid for failed to process in May alone.
- Bitcoiners are more hesitant to transition their network to a POS mechanism, believing the model to be prone to corporate capture. However, CFTC chief Rostin Benham seeks to encourage the move through smart mining regulation and incentives.