Ethereum is set to implement The Merge upgrade on the Ropsten testnet for the first extensive test run. The Ropsten Beacon Chain, launched on May 30 to provide consensus, will be upgraded to support The Merge upgrade at slot number 24000. Moreover, users need to manually set the values of Terminal Total Difficulty to activate The Merge.
Despite being the second-largest cryptocurrency network in the market, Ethereum is often scorned for the high gas fees and the sluggishness of transactions. Even though there are layer-2 networks like Polygon to address these issues, users have long been anticipating a native solution from the Ethereum network. Now, after being in the development stage for years, Ethereum’s proof-of-stake moves to testnet launch.
After a successful run on client networks like Kintsugi and Kiln, The Merge moved to the Ropsten testnet. This proof-of-work network was prepared for the test run through a new Ropsten Beacon Chain launch on May 30. The Merge would go live on Ropsten on June 2 and would help developers determine the compatibility issues that may occur during the mainnet launch.
It has been emphasized that The Merge upgrade is different from any other upgrade rolled out by the network so far. Because it requires node operators to update both consensus and execution layers, unlike the previous upgrades, which required updating only one of the two, the upgrade will be activated in two phases: first at a specific slot height and second after reaching the Total Difficulty value on the execution layer.
The Ropsten testnet will give the community enough time and space to get familiar with the new upgrade. For this purpose, The Merge was brought to the testnet much earlier than the previous upgrades. It has also been announced that The Merge upgrade will make its way to other testnets like Rinkeby and Kovan before the focus turns towards the Ethereum mainnet.
The Ropsten Beacon Chain will be prepared for the upgrade through the Bellatrix protocol for The Merge. After the Bellatrix upgrade, a new TTD value will be chosen and announced. Users will have to configure their nodes manually as per this value, and the instructions will also be announced in time.
The testnet launch will not affect the Ethereum mainnet in any way, so ETH holders do not have to worry about the upgrade as of yet. There will be announcements before the mainnet launch to help users go through the upgrade.
The Merge is the most complicated network upgrade rolled out by Ethereum. So, the team is taking things slowly to ensure no issue occurs during the mainnet launch. There will be a community call for The Merge on June 3 to help and guide community members, stakers, and developers during the upgrade.