Ethereum’s move to the proof-of-stake consensus has been ongoing since 2020, and despite some technical hiccups, the Kintsugi testnet was launched a few days before Christmas. The ETH 2.0 might still have a long way to go before launch, but the public can have a feel of what the network upgrade would look like via the Kintsugi testnet. The Ethereum development team has released many testnets in times past, but none of them have been long-term projects, the Kintsugi Merger testnet signals the first longer-lived public Merger testnet for the Ethereum 2.0.
For those not familiar with Ethereum terms like mainnet and testnet, let us look at what these terms mean and what the merger testnet merger means for the growth of the Ethereum 2.0 development.
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Ethereum mainnet and Merger testnet
Before every project launches on the Ethereum blockchain, it is first simulated on a testnet. Te testnet stands for Test Network, and it is uses fake tokens to check the features of the real network. Any bug or irregularity found on the Testnet can be rectified on the real upgrade without losing real funds on the Mainnet (Main Network). The testnet is a mirrored image of the mainnet, with demo wallets and tokens being the major noticeable difference. It is important to put extra care when using a testnet so as to avoid sending either from a mainnet to a testnet. If it happens, such funds are lost for all eternity.
Ethereum has three testnets running on the network with the exemption of the Kintsugi, and the major ones include the Ropsten, Kovan, and Rinkeby. Each testnet has its distinctive feature, but none of them is useful for the proof-of-stake consensus where ETH 2.0 will be built on.
- The ropsten is the only proof-of-work consensus blockchain that users can mine fake ether.
- The kovan is a proof-of-authority blockchain. Here, ether cannot be mined, but it can be requested on the Github space of the Parity team, the team behind the Kovan blockchain.
- The third testnet is the Rinkeby. The Geth team designed it, and it works as a proof-of-authority protocol where ether cannot also be mined.
Seeing as these testnets have not really contributed to making Ethereum cheaper, faster, or more environmentally friendly, it is no news that the Kintsugi has been built to solve these problems quickly. KInshugi is a Japanese word that is used to denote lacing a broken bowl with gold linings while still showing the marks of its once broken history.
Ethereum launches with the testnet.
The past 24 months have been a busy one for Ethereum core developers. The current Ethereum cryptocurrency is not bad but has seen a self-sabotage result of being successful without proper structures to accommodate its growth. Over the past four years, we have seen the invention of NFTs, DeFi, smart contracts, and even the foundational structure for the metaverse on the Ethereum protocol. These growths have made the Ethereum network quite congested, something most members of the Ethereum community can attest to. It has brought the emergence of different tokens tagged “Ethereum killers” on the scene. These tokens look to offer a better alternative to the traffic congestion, and subsequently, the huge gas fees on the Ethereum network. Some layer-2 blockchains on Ethereum have tried to take some traffic off the mainnet, but there is a limit to what they can do.
This has led to the birth of ETH 2.0. An upgrade of Ethereum from the bulky proof-of-work to the proof-of-stake consensus is its focus, and it seems like the best way for Ethereum to solve its scalability issues. The Eth 2.0 network is secured by people staking their funds to keep the integrity of the network. A minimum of 32 ETH is needed, and currently, there are over 8.7 million staked ETH tokens. The number of validators has also risen to 278,000 validators, as seen on the Ethereum explorer.
The project kicked off with the beacon chain going live in late 2020, and since then, the hopes have been up for the launch date, which is presumably the last quarter of 2022.
Will ETH 2.0 solve all Ethereum’s problems?
While the testnet has been launched and the picture of what to expect in the mainnet is becoming clear to all, some have raised concern about the ETH 2.0 being just a makeover on the current issues plaguing Ethereum. While we know about the huge transaction fees and traffic congestion which results in long waiting times, what would cause widespread adoption in Ethereum will be its ease of use. The user interface on most Ethereum DApps is vague and highly complicated to the untrained minds. Most newbies prefer to stay out of it as navigating through is more of a burden than a help.
While the recent testnet revealed that Ethereum had worked much on the transaction speed, the ease of use is still largely untouched. With the expected launch date of the new Ethereum upgrade in less than 11 months, it is either the UX would remain the same, or perhaps, work has been ongoing that hasn’t been made public. Either way, the Ethereum 2.0 staking seems to be the ‘hot cake’ of the consensus, or more people are locking funds to be a part of it. Redot also conveniently offers staking opportunities. Users can stake with as low as 0.01 ETH on https://redot.com/eth2/ via staking pools and earn stalking rewards.