The merge is fast approaching. Vitalik Buterin has claimed that by August, the world’s second largest blockchain by market cap could fully complete its shift to proof-of-stake (PoS). 

In the meantime, Ethereum’s devnets and testnets are helping to pave the way for a smooth and successful transition. 

One such testnet, Ropsten, will run the merge on June 8, 2022. This follows the successful deployment of the new Ropsten Beacon Chain on May 30

Bellatrix, the codename to upgrade this Ropsten Beacon Chain to merge-compatible protocol rules, will occur on June 2, 2022. 

Following this, a Terminal Total Difficulty (TTD) will be decided to launch the merge on the Ropsten proof-of-work chain. This will trigger the chain’s transition to PoS. 

After Ropsten, two other testnets (Goerli and Sepolia) will also transition to PoS in the coming weeks. 

By closely resembling the main network, Ropsten’s merge will help core devs prepare for the important transition later this year. It brings greater familiarity to the upgrade process. This will see the Execution Layer (Ethereum PoW, “Eth1”) and Consensus Layer (PoS, “Eth2”) combine into a single, unified chain. 

A full overview of the Ropsten Merge Announcement process has been outlined by the Ethereum Foundation. 

This update will have no impact on the service of Blockdaemon’s Ethereum customer base. However, we continue to closely follow all merge progress, as well as supporting the network with our world-class infrastructure. Previously, we have committed $900,000 worth of IBM Cloud credits towards Ethereum client stability testing. 

What is Ropsten? 

Launched in November 2016 by the Ethereum Foundation, Ropsten is a proof-of-work (PoW) testnet for Ethereum. It is unique, being the only available testnet to use the PoW consensus mechanism. This closely simulates the main Ethereum chain. Most testnets use a proof-of-authority consensus mechanism, due to the difficulty of incentivizing testnet miners without valuable crypto. Ropsten also hosts all major ETH clients. 

What is a Testnet? 

A testnet (‘test network’) closely resembles the main Ethereum blockchain, without risking valuable cryptocurrency. Instead of ETH, testnet tokens are used. On such a network, devs can test their code in advance of deployment, to reduce the chances of errors once live. Such errors can be costly, with real economic value on the line. These testnets are therefore valuable proving grounds for protocol upgrades (such as the merge) and smart contracts, before launching on the main Ethereum network.