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Ethereum Gets Ready For Third Mainnet Shadow Fork
A third and hopefully final Proof of Stake (PoS) shadow fork of the ethereum network is to be performed later today in what might determine just when the merger happens.
Himanshu S.
12:35 5th May, 2022

“All set for tomorrow’s ethereum mainnet shadow-fork-3. We got 2 nodes: Raspberry_Pi with Geth and Nimbus, plus 5 validators; Odroid hardkernel with Geth and Lighthouse, plus 5 validators.

Big shoutout to Parithosh Jayanthi for the support and the validators. #TestingTheMerge.”

So says Ethereum on ARM, which we’ll describe as a ‘box’ nodes runner where instead of having the nodes on a laptop or server, you put them on Raspberry Pi or on slightly bigger cool looking boxes.

Many more will join, with this following the second mainnet shadow fork which went “extremely well,” according to Adrian Sutton, Lead Blockchain Protocol Engineer at ConsenSys.

But, there was still room for some optimizations, and so about two weeks later we get this third run.

The road to the Merge, May 2022
The road to the Merge, May 2022

This is what has been done so far. Six devnets, one merger testnet in Kiln which launched in March, four Goerli shadow forks since then, and now the third mainnet shadow fork.

We need at least three more folders here according to Tim Beiko, the chair of eth2 calls: the Ropsten, Goerli and Sepolia testnet mergers, the latter being a new PoW testnet meant to replace Ropsten. Then they can set the block number for the live mainnet merger.

If we give two weeks for each, then it would be at least eight weeks before the actual merge, and mid June before they can set a block number.

So although some devs have pushed the target off to August, they probably can still make it for June based on the progress so far and what has been done.

But if these testnets get numbers as well, then we need to add another six weeks, sending us to August.

Everyone is on the beach during that month however, so it’s either June or September. For June, a lot would have to go right and Jayanthi would maybe have to work a bit too much. We may also need a shadow fork 4, and at least one established testnet may need numbers, although you could see each testnet as a number itself and move along the three rather than get stuck with adding folders.

For September, a lot would have to go wrong for that target not to be reached, and from here we can’t see what would go wrong since this looks pretty much finished with just optimizations.

So if they wanted to go for June, they probably can, but it’s a big upgrade to have during summer chills, making September more fitting.

On the other hand, miners are being paid $30 million a day, a sum that will go to zero as soon as this goes live, so summer chill niceties and September feeling better might seem irrelevant to many.

And yet it is a big upgrade, with the potential to interrupt the moving billions in defi dapps or NFT markets. But it is code so any such interruption would be brief. And yet minimizing the chances of any interruption may well be sufficient justification to keep paying this $30 million for a few more weeks.

So if they want September they can have it. Jayanthi can have some nice beaches as well like all the rest because we want to keep seeing these folders for data sharding and whatever comes next. And, it won’t be rushed so if anything goes wrong they have all the folders, leaving just the nature of code to take the blame.

Which means this is pretty much done. Just a summer to enjoy soon enough and then ethereum can go deflationary with data sharding to follow which is perhaps an even bigger endeavor as some innovation might come out of that to address scalability.


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