Ethereum is one step closer to The Merge, the network’s highly anticipated transition to a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism.
Ethereum’s Sepolia testnet activated PoS consensus on Wednesday at block number 1,450,409. Sepolia is the second of three testnets to merge their proof-of-work (PoW) execution layers with their PoS consensus layers before the upgrade can take effect on Ethereum’s mainnet.
The Ropsten testnet was the first to merge on June 8. The next and final testnet is Goerli, expected in about a month.
“Happy to see another test that’s looking to be successful so far,” Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin said in a livestreamed core developers’ call discussing the testnet merge.
The second successful merge between PoS consensus and application layers on testnets is an encouraging sign for investors, developers and users who have been anxiously waiting for the oft-delayed move to happen on Ethereum’s mainnet. Ethereum is planning to switch to PoS from PoW this year to improve the decentralization of its nodes and reduce the network’s energy consumption by more than 99%.
Developers will continue to monitor the testnet over the coming days to ensure that it is functioning normally under PoS and iron out any potential bugs.
During the initial moments after the merge, developers noticed missing slots as some validator nodes seemed to have trouble transitioning to the new system. Ethereum under PoS processes transactions in epochs, rather than blocks. Each epoch contains 32 slots, which are periods of roughly 12 seconds during which a randomly-chosen validator may propose a block.
According to Danny Ryan, a researcher at the Ethereum Foundation, these issues were caused by the faulty configuration of the nodes in question.
Ethereum educator superphiz.eth called the Sepolia merge a “resounding success”.
The Goerli public testnet will be the final proving ground for The Merge.
Today’s livestream participants speculated that Goerli’s move to PoS could happen in the next three to four weeks, setting the stage for Ethereum’s mainnet to potentially merge in September.
The price of Ether was unfazed by today’s events and continues to trade at around $1,140, in line with broader crypto markets. The second-largest cryptocurrency has fallen 75% from its all-time high of $4,800 hit eight months ago.