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On Monday, Ethereum developers conducted the network's first-ever "shadow fork," a significant step toward the network's ongoing transition to proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus.
According to Ethereum Foundation engineer Parithosh Jayanthi, the shadow fork enables developers to test their assumptions about the network's complicated transition to PoS. "The aim of the Kiln merge testnet was to allow the community to practice running their nodes, deploying contracts, testing infrastructure, etc.," he tweeted on Sunday.
Kiln is the last testnet of the so-called merging, which entails switching Ethereum’s Execution Layer from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake. The Ethereum Foundation hailed the merger in a March 14 blog post as the “culmination of six years of research and development” to make the network more secure and energy-efficient.
Marius van der Wijden, a developer at the Ethereum Foundation, confirmed that PoS testing was begun on Monday. “Today will be the first mainnet shadow fork ever. We’re roughly 690 blocks (~2 h) away from TTD,” he tweeted.
Positive events around the merger have contributed to an increasingly positive narrative for Ethereum, allowing the Ether (ETH) price to break out of a months-long downturn briefly. While ETH and the larger cryptocurrency market are reeling from a new round of risk aversion, the potential of collecting passive Ethereum network rewards has piqued investor attention.
According to industry data, the total amount of ETH staked on Ethereum’s Beacon Chain is rapidly reaching 10.9 million, with the average balance sitting at 33.5 ETH. Beacon Chain now has over 340,000 validators, a 13% increase since early March, when the 300,000th validator was registered.