Ethereum’s public testnet, known as Ropsten, is in the final stages of preparation to merge its existing proof-of-work (PoW) chain with the new proof-of-stake (PoS) chain, as revealed by a pull request submitted to the Ethereum GitHub depository on May 18.
The test merge, expected to take place next month, is regarded as a major milestone in Ethereum’s migration from a PoW chain to a PoS chain. This news comes after a delay to the mainnet merge, which was pushed back to some time in Q3 of this year, having previously been expected to happen in June.
Code Updates Prepare Testnet For Merge
The pull request, which was merged into the code base on May 19 by Ethereum Foundation DevOps engineer Parithosh Jayanthi, added the configuration files required by Ropsten testnet clients to create a genesis version of the consensus layer, the first step in merging the PoW execution layer and the PoS consensus layer.
A tweet from Ethereum researcher Terence Tsao indicates the genesis version of the consensus layer will be created on May 30, with the full merge expected to take place around June 8:
Bug Bounty Programs Merged, Rewards Increased
As the Ethereum merge has neared, the original PoW execution layer codebase and the new PoS consensus layer codebase – once two largely separate projects – have become increasingly interconnected, prompting the Ethereum Foundation to merge its two bug bounty programs into a single unified program.
This move reflects the reality that the two codebases are close to becoming a single entity and also incentivises bug hunters to identify bugs relating to the integration of the two codebases, as Ethereum Foundation developer Fredrik Svantes explained:
As the Execution Layer and Consensus Layer become more and more interconnected, it is increasingly valuable to combine the security efforts of these layers. There are already multiple efforts being organised by client teams and the community to further increase knowledge and expertise across the two layers. Unifying the Bounty Program will further increase visibility and coordination efforts on identifying and mitigating vulnerabilities.Fredrik Svantes, developer, Ethereum Foundation
The Foundation has also significantly increased the rewards on offer, including a maximum US$500,000 paid in ETH or DAI. That’s a tenfold increase over the previous maximum reward for bugs identified on the consensus layer, and double that for bugs found on the execution layer.
The merging of the Ropsten public testnet follows the implementation of the mainnet ‘shadow fork’ last month, suggesting the mainnet merge may be coming in the next few months.
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