Ethereum Inches Closer to the Merge With Sepolia Testnet Launch


Key Takeaways

  • Ethereum has shipped “the Merge” on Sepolia testnet.
  • The top smart contract blockchain is set for one final testnet launch ahead of its mainnet deployment.
  • The Merge is a highly anticipated update that will see Ethereum move away from Proof-of-Work to Proof-of-Stake.

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There’s one more testnet slated ahead of the launch on Ethereum mainnet. 

Ethereum Completes Sepolia Testnet 

The main event Ethereum fans have been awaiting for several years could finally be on the horizon. 

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The top smart contract blockchain completed its Sepolia testnet for “the Merge” Wednesday, bringing the network another step closer to its long-awaited transition to Proof-of-Stake. 

Seoplia is Ethereum’s second public Merge testnet, following a successful deployment on Ropsten last month. Next up, the update is set to launch on the Goerli testnet, before it heads to Ethereum mainnet. Though the shipping date for the Merge on mainnet has not yet been finalized, the Goerli launch is expected in the coming weeks. 

The Merge refers to the docking of Ethereum’s Proof-of-Work execution layer and its Proof-of-Stake consensus layer, which is also known as the Beacon Chain. In each of the testnets, the two layers have merged as part of a move to replace Ethereum’s Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism with Proof-of-Stake. Once the mainnet launches, Ethereum will no longer be reliant on miners and instead use validators who have staked ETH to achieve consensus. Running an independent node requires locking up 32 ETH worth about $35,000 at current prices, though staking projects like Lido and RocketPool have brought pooling services to the market for those with less capital to deploy. 

All Eyes on the Merge 

The Merge is a highly anticipated event for Ethereum as it’s expected to reduce ETH emissions while improving the network’s energy efficiency by over 99%. It will also set the stage for the addition of shard chains, the next phase in Ethereum’s scaling ambitions alongside the adoption of Layer 2 solutions like ZK-Rollups. 

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has been discussing the benefits of Proof-of-Stake since 2014; he famously miscalculated the blockchain’s likely launch date for the update by several years. Though the Merge has been subject to several delays, the Sepolia launch moves the network closer to its target date of a 2022 mainnet deployment. 

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While the promise of the upcoming Merge served as one of the dominant narratives behind Ethereum during and in the fallout from the 2021 bull run, it’s done little to stop ETH’s woeful price action amid a months-long market-wide downturn. Since topping $4,800 in November 2021, the number two crypto asset has shed 76.7% of its value. It’s currently trading at about $1,100, putting Ethereum’s market cap at around $136.8 billion. 

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned ETH and several other cryptocurrencies. 

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