Ethereum delevopers have announced the date for Goerli public testnet for Dencun. For the last Ethereum network upgrade, Goerli is set to be deployed on January 17th 2024 at 06:32:00 UTC. It will be followed by Sepolia on 30th and Holesky is expected on February 7th 2024.
Ethereum's public testnet Goerli is soon going to be deprecated and Holesky will be replacing the testing infrastructure. Let's dive into the history, details of Holesky's launch, and the future plans of Ethereum's protocol development.
What is a testnet?
In the blockchain space, a test network, or testnet, functions as an experimental distributed network replicating the operations of a cryptocurrency network without involving real value transactions. Much like main networks (mainnets), accounts within a testnet can send tokens to each other, and validators confirm these transactions by adding new blocks to the chain.
Participants in a testnet receive tokens, often referred to as "play" tokens, from faucets. These faucets, created by Ethereum (ETH) enthusiasts, offer free testnet Ethers as rewards for activities like sharing on Twitter or connecting to Discord.
Testnets are crucial for stress-testing decentralized applications (dApps) without the risk of actual financial losses. Every contemporary decentralized finance (DeFi) project or wallet typically undergoes a testnet phase before transitioning to the mainnet to ensure a smooth and secure user experience.
Ropsten, Rinkeby, Goerli, Sepolia: Crucial Ethereum (ETH) testnets
Over the course of its eight-year history, Ethereum (ETH), has utilized various testnets to refine and experiment with its decentralized applications (dApps). Ropsten, introduced in 2016 as the successor to Morden, Ethereum's initial proof-of-work (PoW) testnet, played an imoprtant role as a testbed for major ETH dApps and served as the first testnet to undergo the PoW-to-PoS transition.
In 2017, the Ethereum community introduced Rinkeby, leveraging the Clique proof-of-authority (PoA) consensus mechanism, a modified version of proof-of-stake (PoS). Rinkeby specifically interacted with the GoEthereum (Geth) version of client software, contributing to the network's evolution.
At the ETH Berlin Conference in 2018, Ethereum (ETH) developers unveiled Goerli, a multiclient Ethereum (ETH) testnet. It provided a secure space for developers to experiment on decentralized applications and upscale infrastructure elements.
However, as Ethereum ecosystem thrived, Goerli faced a challenge – it wasn't keeping up with the growing traffic. More developers wanted to make use of Goerli, which incresed the usage and made the testnet a little slow. Goerli, as good as it was, needed an upgrade to handle the increasing number of devs and their ambitious projects.
The Ethereum testnet expanded further in 2021 with the introduction of the Sepolia testnet, designed to accommodate an unlimited number of testnet tokens.
Introducing Holesky, very special Ethereum (ETH) testnet
Holesky, Ethereum's latest testnet, represents the efforts by core developers to resolve any challenges that may have impacted the functionality and utilization of previous testnets.
Holesky is the first long-standing public Ethereum testnet that is "merged from genesis"; this means that Holesky never had a proof-of-work (PoW) version.
Holesky gets its name from a subway station in Prague called Nádraží Holešovice. It uses a new and improved way to make sure everything runs smoothly, called Proof-of-Stake(PoS). In PoS, validators create and validate new blocks based on the amount of cryptocurrency they hold and are willing to stake as collateral. Unlike Proof of Work (PoW), PoS is more energy-efficient and reduces the risk of centralization.
Holesky: What was wrong with Goerli?
Holesky is designed to help Ethereum (ETH) testers avoid the disadvantages of earlier testnets. For instance, Goerli users faced a shortage of GoETH tokens and had to purchase them for money, which is in contradiction of Ethereum (ETH) testnet rules.
Holesky public testnet genesis file has been generated, and merged into main branch of https://github.com/eth-clients/holesky.
Sept/15, 2023, 14:00 UTC
Chain ID-17000 (zip code of Holešovice).
The genesis will have 1,460,000 validators. Our biggest public network to date.
— Barnabas Busa (@BarnabasBusa) August 22, 2023
Various other factors played a role for the change:
Scalability: Goerli had a limit on how many projects it could handle at once. Holesky, with Proof-of-Stake, can handle way more, making it the go-to place for developers.
Speed: Goerli sometimes felt like a slow internet connection. Holesky speeds up the process, letting developers test their creations at lightning speed.
Security Boost: As Ethereum grew, security became even more crucial. Holesky brings in extra security measures.
Holesky will have an unimaginable number of validators: 1.46 million entities to protect network integrity. This is more than Ethereum’s mainnet (700,000) and Goerli (512,000). This, in turn, will allow developers to mimic "real-world" Ethereum (ETH) operations closely.
Overcoming Launch Challenges:
The launch date faced a temporary delay due to unexpected technical hurdles. Nethermind, said in a [tweet] that The delay in the launch of the Holesky testnet was due to an execution layer misconfiguration. This misconfiguration was identified as the cause of Holesky's initial failed launch.
The Ethereum community and development teams, including Nethermind and the Ethereum Foundation, worked to address this issue and plan for a relaunch. While Nethermind suggested that a relaunch could take place within one week, there were varying opinions within the community. Barnabus Busa, a DevOps engineer for the Ethereum Foundation, proposed a relaunch date of September 28 via a GitHub pull request.
Empowering DApp Developers
Once Holesky goes live, it will provide a sophisticated and highly reliable environment for stress tests, experiments, and validations. This transition offers a secure space for application development without the risks of live transactions, fostering innovation and exploration.
Key figures in the Ethereum community highlight the goal of mirroring mainnet stability. Afri, a core developer, emphasizes Holesky's creation as a pursuit of authenticity and reliability. Barnabas Busa from the EF DevOps Team stresses the collaborative nature of Holesky's launch, requiring efforts from client teams, infrastructure operators, and the broader community.
Goerli's Farewell and What's Next:
Soon, Goerli, Ethereum's first multi-client testnet, will no longer be supported. After the Dencun upgrade, teams will exit their validators, affecting network stability. Developers are encouraged to use Sepolia for testing, while stakers and infrastructure providers can explore the newly launched Holesky testnet.
As the Ethereum community eagerly awaits Holesky's launch, it envisions a testnet accelerating the development of decentralized applications. This marks a new chapter in Ethereum's journey of evolution and advancement.
Farewell, Goerli! The trusted Ethereum testnet since 2018. From coding experiments to smart contract challenges, it played a vital role. As we embrace Holesky's advancements, thank you, Goerli, for your legacy in shaping Ethereum's journey.
Goerli, faced challenges with the growing Ethereum traffic and test ETH misuse. Enter Holesky, using Proof-of-Stake magic for more scalability, speed, security, and realism. It's time to upgrade and say goodbye to Goerli, welcoming Holesky for a more robust Ethereum testing experience.
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