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Ethereum had a successful dress rehearsal to move to proof-of-stake

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Ethereum has just completed its first major rehearsal for a long-awaited makeover that will be its most important overhaul since the digital currency was launched almost a decade ago.

Cryptocurrencies such as ethereum and bitcoin are often criticized for the process of mining to generate new coins. Both currently use a so-called proof-of-work mining model, which involves complex mathematical equations that a huge number of machines race to solve.

Ethereum has been working to shift from the energy-intensive proof-of-work method to secure the network to a proof-of-stake model, which requires users to utilize their existing cache of ether as a means of verifying transactions and making new ones. tokens. This requires far less power than mining and will translate into faster transactions.

The transition has been repeatedly postponed in recent years due to major errors in the implementations.

Developers told CNBC that the last test run on Wednesday was very smooth, an important marker as the blockchain for the second largest cryptocurrency is preparing for a landmark move.

Here̵[ads1]7;s what happened. Ethereum’s longest-lived test network (test network, for short) simulated a process identical to what the main network (or main network) will perform this autumn. Testnett allows developers to try out new things before rolling them out on the main blockchain, giving them time to make necessary adjustments.

Wednesday’s exercise showed that the proof-of-effort validation process significantly reduces the energy required to verify a block of transactions, and also proved that the merger process works.

“There were no crazy mistakes,” said Auston Bunsen, co-founder of QuikNode, which provides blockchain infrastructure to developers and companies. – Everything went as smoothly as it could be.

Tim Beiko, the coordinator of ethereum’s protocol developers, agreed and added that the network is now stable. However, he noted that the test encountered “some minor issues”, and developers “will spend the next few days trying them out before discussing the next step in Friday’s AllCoreDevs call.”

The price of ether, the token of the ethereum blockchain, has lost about half its value this year and is trading at just over $ 1,800.

Train the mistakes

Since December 2020, the ethereum community has been testing the proof-of-stake workflow on a chain called beacon. The Beacon chain runs alongside the existing proof-of-work chain and already has human validators breaking new blocks.

Beacon solves the problems that have arisen from previous attempts to switch, according to Beiko.

“We knew there would be a lot of technical work to address things like the increased centralization that we see in other proof-of-stake systems,” Beiko told CNBC. “We’ve achieved that with the beacon chain.”

Beiko tells CNBC that the original proposal required validators to have 1,500 ethers, a stake now worth about $ 2.7 million, in order to use the system. To lower the barrier to entry, the new proof-of-stake proposal would require interested users to have only 32 ethers, or about $ 57,600.

Read more about technology and crypto from CNBC Pro

“It’s still not a trivial sum, but it’s a much more accessible system,” Beiko said.

Developers have simulated the merger with test networks to pressure test the workflow and code. On Wednesday, ethereum’s longest-lived test network, known as Ropsten (which closely mirrors the main network), successfully beat its proof-of-work execution team with the proof-of-stake beacon chain. It was the first dry run of the process that the main network will undergo later this autumn, should everything go according to plan.

Beiko said that merging testing allowed developers to ensure that the software running the ethereum protocol was stable and “that everything built on top of the network was ready for transition.”

Bunsen said that before Wednesday, the beacon chain did not really do much.

“It was just tough with, and created, for lack of a better concept, empty blocks,” he said.

He called Wednesday’s trial “an immediate smooth rollout” and said: “I can see it happening in the same way for the mainnet.”

Several dry runs are expected to take place on test networks called Goerli and Sepolia, giving developers additional opportunities to see what could go wrong before the official show.

“With each test network, we expect the code to be closer to what will be used on the ethereum network,” said Beiko. “We look for less friction every time. Hopefully the minor issues we have seen today are solved when we upgrade the next test network.”

Still, Beiko urges enthusiasts to exercise caution.

“Users should be aware that ethereum’s transition to proof-of-stake does not require any action on their part unless they are a validator on the network,” he said. “The transition will not create any ‘new’ ethereum tokens either.”

Beiko urged users to watch out for scams and refer to ethereum’s blog for announcements.

SEE: UST’s crash causes some investors to reconsider their crypto investments

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