Ethereum opened the Kintsugi testnet to the public on Monday, Tim Beiko, a developer for the blockchain, announced in a post.
Testnets run atop and mimic the activity of the core blockchain, or mainnet, without affecting it. They allow developers and the community to test applications and features in a controlled setting.
Kintsugi, named for the Japanese art of mending broken pottery with gold, is one of the final public testnets before Ethereum 2.0. That’s a plan to convert the blockchain to a proof-of-stake mechanism – one that relies on validators locking up tokens to validate transactions and maintain the network – instead of its current proof-of-work consensus design. Earlier testnets were available only to developers.
Although client development and UX [user experience] continue to be refined, we encourage the community to start using Kintsugi to familiarize themselves with Ethereum in a post-merge context, Beiko said. For application developers, as previously explained, not much will change. Tooling which only interacts with either the consensus or execution layer is also largely unaffected.
Over the past few months, client teams have been working tirelessly to implement a new set of merge milestones. They are now live on a new testnet: Kintsugi ??!
Here's how you can join the testnet and help with testing: https://t.co/ARDezguzXE ??
Christmas came early??!
— Tim Beiko | timbeiko.eth ?? (@TimBeiko) December 20, 2021
Dubbed a longer-lived public testnet, Kintsugi is where anyone can experiment with Ethereum in the exact manner the network would operate after the changeover. This could mean testing niche decentralized finance (DeFi) tools, which rely on smart contracts to provide financial services, to more technical usage of the network.
The move follows a nearly year-long process to shift to Eth 2.0. Four so-called devnets launched in the past year after the Phase 0 launch of the Beacon Chain. The Beacon Chain already stores billions of dollars worth of value, data from on-chain analytics tool Dune Analytics show. It exists separately from the current Ethereum network but will eventually be merged.
Kintsugi is expected to run until it reaches stability along with other testnets, following which a move to Eth 2.0 takes place. Existing long-lived testnets will run through The Merge. Once these have upgraded and are stable, next up is Ethereum mainnet’s transition to proof of stake, explained Beiko.