Ethereum ‘Merge’ edging closer with final Kiln testnet launch

The much-anticipated ‘Merge’ on the Ethereum network is another step closer to becoming a reality after the final public testnet Kiln launched to put it through its paces.

On March 14, the Ethereum Foundation urged network stakeholders to run tests using Kiln “to ensure a smooth transition on existing public testnets.”

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“We strongly recommend that developers run through a full testing & deployment cycle on Kiln and report any issues with tools or dependencies to those projects’ maintainers.”

Ethereum developer Tim Beiko confirmed that Kiln has gone live and will soon be ready to merge with the Beacon Chain in a March 14 tweet. The testnet launched late last week in proof-of-work mode only.

Kiln is now operating in a proof-of-work (PoW) testing environment for Ethereum developers, node operators, and stakers. It is the final public testnet before the whole network transitions to proof-of-stake (PoS) to PoW sometime this year. Kiln will fully test the merge, and it is expected sometime this week.

Beiko told Cointelgraph today that launching Kiln “a week or so from launch to merge was definitely the intention.” He said Ethereum developers wanted to “give the community the opportunity to test their products through the merge.”

Kiln was originally launched as a PoW testnet that mimicked the Ethereum network’s operational environment. It ran parallel to the Beacon Chain, the first major PoS component of Ethereum 2.0 (now called the consensus layer) where ETH holders can stake their coins and begin securing the future of the Ethereum network.

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Ethereum’s (ETH) mainnet transition from PoS to PoW will be a major milestone in the network’s evolution. This next phase of Ethereum will allow the blockchain’s security to rely on staked tokens rather than costly and power-hungry mining hardware.

The network’s transition event from PoW to PoS will dock the Beacon Chain with the Ethereum mainnet. 

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The Merge could come as soon as this June according to an analysis from crypto financial newsletter Bankless. The 10 million ETH staked in the Beacon Chain is currently earning about 4.8% per year in yield for investors. After the Merge, that yield could grow to as high as 15% and network operational costs will be reduced to a fraction of its PoW predecessor reported Bankless.