Ethereum passes a major test towards its merger: what happened?

On Wednesday, Ethereum developers passed a test of upgrading one of its blockchains from a proof-of-work system to a proof-of-stake system.

The transition from Ethereum to Ethereum 2.0 is progressing well. On Wednesday, a test highly anticipated by the Ethereum community was passed. In concrete terms, the Ethereum developers have moved the Ethereum Ropnstet blockchain from the so-called “proof of work” (Pow) system to that of “proof of stake” (PoS).

Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin retweeted a tweet from specialist company Etherchain, announcing the news.

This test is part of a major update to the Ethereum blockchain, dubbed The Merge, which is expected to take place in August. This merger consists for Ethereum, in moving from a process of validation and mining called PoW to that of PoS. A giant step towards a completely different system.

The difference between “Proof of Work” and “Proof of Stake”

As a reminder, the “proof of work” (or proof of work) is a system that aims to secure many blockchains, in particular Bitcoin and Ethereum, thanks to minors (person or group of people) who use the computing power of computers to validate transactions and generate new blocks on a blockchain. The fastest miners to validate a transaction on the Bitcoin blockchain are rewarded in bitcoins for example.

For its part, the “proof of stake” (or proof of stake) is a system which aims to secure many blockchains, and which is considered as an alternative to PoW. A holder of a cryptocurrency is selected at random and must in particular prove that he owns a certain amount of cryptocurrency to obtain the right to validate blocks in the network in order to guarantee his security. This method is less energy intensive than PoW.

More miners and 101,000 validators to secure the Rospten network

Let’s go back to what happened on Wednesday. Launched in 2016, Ropsten was Ethereum’s oldest “testnet” so far. A testnet is an alternative blockchain that allows testing without putting user funds at risk. The role of the various stakeholders (developers, validators…) in the update on Ropsten had been detailed in a post here.

The transition from a PoW to PoS system on this blockchain has been successful, so miners can no longer mine on this network. The Ropsten blockchain therefore no longer has miners but more validators on its network: they have gone from 100,000 validators at the beginning of June to 101,000 today. The latter each blocked 32 ether on an address to participate in the validation of a block, implying that more than 3 million ether were deposited to secure the network.

“A validator is an entity that participates in the consensus of the Ethereum 2.0 protocol, in other words, a human who executes a computer process. This process proposes and guarantees the addition of new blocks to the blockchain. In other words, you can think of a validator as a voter for new blocks. The more votes a block receives, the more likely it is to be added to the chain. It’s important to note that a validator’s vote is weighted by the amount it receives. ‘he hired,” Ethereum explains on his blog.

Following this update on Ropsten, “the validators that now secure the network through Proof of Stake (PoS) have started operating and creating the new blocks of transactions that were formerly created by miners via Proof of Stake. of work (PoW)”, explains the founder of the specialized media Au Coin du Bloc, who prefers to remain anonymous.

Other tests before the main merge The Merge

This transition from PoW to PoS on the Ropsten blockchain still deserves close scrutiny. “Fusion working well for 6 hours is not proof of complete success,” said Vitalik Buterin Wednesday indicating that issues may be identified over the next few weeks.

For example, during the test, one of the Ethereum developers, Tim Beiko, identified an issue with missing blocks.

“Today, we cannot yet say that the transition is successful, it takes a little time to see how the network reacts and if everything is working correctly. Nevertheless, we can say that the deployment went well, which which is very good news,” said the founder of Au Coin du Bloc.

The developers will thus make the same updates as on Ropsten on two other testnets over the next few weeks: Sepolia and Goerli. If the updates are also successful, it will bring about the big August update to the main Ethereum blockchain, which would move from a PoW to PoS system.

In note published in May on the Ethereum site, the developers claim that the merged blockchain will consume 99.95% less energy after its transition. This merger will also lead to new developments on the blockchain, since it will no longer be possible to mine. Self validators support mainnet validation.

Moreover, this merger should reduce the issuance of circulating ethers, which would imply that with a limited quantity, the demand for ether could be higher. Indeed, unlike bitcoin which is issued in limited quantities (21 million bitcoins in the long term at most), there is no such limit for ether.

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