In brief

  • Ethereum developers have released several short-lived testnets to experiment with the merge.
  • The release of this “longer-lived public testnet” should be one of the last steps before Ethereum 2.0 is functional.

Ethereum developer teams have been hard at work preparing for Ethereum 2.0, the proof-of-stake platform designed to make the blockchain’s transactions faster, cheaper, and less energy-intensive. 

But while ETH2 isn’t ready quite yet, its first major testnet is, providing the public with a look into how the network may soon function.

Tim Beiko, who coordinates the Ethereum core developers, announced the Kintsugi testnet today on the Ethereum Foundation blog. Kintsugi is a Japanese word for using gold to repair broken objects without attempting to hide the damage; the word evokes a sense of transparency about something’s history.

While the Ethereum network in its current state isn’t broken, it is a victim of its success. After pioneering decentralized finance applications, NFTs, and even blockchain-based games, network transaction costs are scaring off some users. Swapping assets on a peer-to-peer basis or bidding on digital collectibles on-chain requires part of the network’s energy—to push transactions through…

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