Ethereum implements final network test before merging

In the frenzied build-up to Ethereum’s long-awaited merger, the network’s developers have deployed test after test to make sure everything runs smoothly as the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization transitions to proof of stake sometime next week.

Ethereum today successfully completed what the developers say is the absolute final dress rehearsal for the historic and massive upgrade, which is likely to take place between September 1[ads1]3th and 15th.

The Ethereum network’s 13th shadow fork went live earlier today, seemingly without issue. Shadow forks are focused trial runs of aspects of the merge, testing for potential issues and simulating the act of shifting the Ethereum network’s underlying mechanism from its current, proof of work mining model to proof of stake, which will end the practice of mining on the network.

In talking to Decryptconfirmed a number of Ethereum developers that the network’s latest shadow fork was deployed today. “No problems appeared,” Ethereum core developer Marius Van Der Wijden told me. Decrypt.

Last week, during Bellatrix, an important pre-merger upgrade, the Ethereum network encountered some hiccups as its “missed block rate” increased by around 1700%.

The lost block rates metric measures how often the Ethereum network fails to verify a block of transactions to be validated. Typically, about 0.5% of blocks encounter this problem; in the hours following the Bellatrix upgrade, this number rose to 9%.

Ethereum’s developers chalked up the chin to a lack of preparedness from a number of node operators who had not yet updated their clients to the correct fusion-ready software. Node operators are the individuals and organizations that keep the backend infrastructure of the Ethereum network running.

At the time of the Bellatrix upgrade, 25.2% of Ethereum’s nodes were still upgrading their software. At the time of writing, that figure has been lowered to 15.4%, per Ethernodes.

Terence Tsao, a core developer at Ethereum, told Decrypt that the current shadow fork tested this issue with unanswered block rates, and found that it worked “basically perfectly.”

The network’s developers have been running dress rehearsals of the merger almost weekly for the past few months, trying to play out any scenarios that could potentially derail or delay its implementation. With tens of billions of dollars worth of digital assets, apps and decentralized financial instruments built on top of the Ethereum network, there is essentially no margin for error.

Ethereum’s developers have continuously signaled that they are confident that the merger will go exactly as planned. Nevertheless, the test runs have continued – perhaps more than anything to give developers some reassurance.

“It’s just sanity checking at this point,” Van Der Wijden said.

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