The transition from Ethereum (ETH) to a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus network is fast approaching after the network started the first mainnet shadow fork on April 11th.
Ethereum’s PoS shadow fork goes live
According to one of the project’s developers, Paritosh Jayanthi, the purpose of the shadow fork is to stress-test the synchronization and state growth assumptions. Ethereum will use the shadow fork to test theories about the existing testnets and mainnet.
The merge pandas are here!
mainnet-shadow-fork-1 hit TTD about half an hour ago. We have completed and produced blocks!
We quickly noticed some seemingly minor issues with Nethermind and Besu (triage in progress). Erigon is currently syncing with Head, status update later. https://t.co/iJFtZTp7UU pic.twitter.com/9GxPp8dFzs
— Parithosh | 🐼👉👈🐼 (@parithosh_j) April 11, 2022
The shadow fork is part of the multi-step process that aims to transition the Ethereum mainnet to a PoS consensus algorithm. The transition—called “The Merge”—is planned to take place in the second quarter of 2022, with most of the required work already done.
The Shadow Fork is a significant step in the success of The Merge. Ethereum developer Tim Beiko specified that its outcome is critical in determining the timing of the final merger.
Next Monday, the developers plan to shadow the Ethereum mainnet to test the merge. @TimBeiko stressed that the outcome of this shadow fork will be important in deciding the timing of the merge.
— Christine Kim (@christine_dkim) April 7, 2022
Prior to this fork, developers have already reached several milestones. In March Ethereum started the Kiln-Testnet merge, which combined a PoW execution layer with a PoS beacon chain. The Kiln test was the last merge testnet before the final move to PoS.
So far the shadow fork has completed almost 4 million transactions and over 14.5 million blocks with an average block time of 14.2 seconds. In addition, almost 2 million wallets have been connected to the network.
We are on the verge of a historic event. We test PoS on #Ether. Today the first ever mainnet shadow fork will take place. We are approximately 690 blocks (~2 hours) from TTD. Follow here: https://t.co/T20ZMgApYw or https://t.co/Uod8WBsqtw
Huge props too @parithosh_j! #TestingTheMerge pic.twitter.com/M8ZcHnKqaL
— MariusVanDerWijden (@vdWijden) April 11, 2022
Developers identify some issues
But the developers have noticed Problems with Hyperledger Besu and Nethermind. The number of validators has also dropped, although there are still enough to meet mining requirements.
According to Jayanthi, some transactions might appear on the main Ethereum network and the shadow fork as they have some data in common.
Project developers have described the Shadow Fork as a historic event. Though it’s on a bigger stage now, this isn’t the first time Shadow Forks have been used. The Ethereum Foundation has previously tried it on the Görli testnet.
A move to PoS will significantly affect Ethereum and the entire crypto industry as it is expected to help reduce energy consumption of the blockchain by up to 99%. The transition is intended to help Ethereum more scalablefurther cementing its position as the top blockchain for DeFi and NFT activity.
As such, crypto enthusiasts are eagerly watching the developments and circumstances surrounding the arrival of the merge.