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Ethereum launches ninth shadow fork ahead of schedule

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Ethereum has finalized one of the last testing stages for the Merge. The ninth shadow fork was launched on the network 15 hours ahead of schedule. The Ethereum Merge is slated to happen later this year, and it will switch the network from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake.

Ethereum unveils ninth shadow fork

Shadow forks are different from full testnets done on the network. Recently, Ethereum completed the Sepolia testnet that allows developers to detect any issues that could go wrong after the Merge. Full testnets replicate the entire network, while shadow forks are done to assess the effects of one or a few changes that will be introduced after the Merge.

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The recently deployed shadow fork will be used to test the Ethereum maximal extractable value (MEV) boost feature. This is a feature whereby the individuals that produce new Ether tokens can derive additional value by having a say over the network.

Ethereum currently runs on a proof-of-work algorithm, supporting mining using specialized hardware. However, after Ethereum moves to PoS, new Ether tokens will be earned by validating.

Micah Zoltu, one of Ethereum’s core developers, said that validators will be behind the MEV execution. Through the MEV boost feature, validators will also be allowed to provide space within their created blocks to other validators, boosting competition.

Another Ethereum core developer, Marius van der Wijden, said that the testnet was a major step in the right direction, adding that shadow forks helped to boost confidence in the Merge. The Merge is slated to happen in October this year, and before this, one major test known as the Goerli testnet will be run. The test is expected to happen in August.

Benefits of Ethereum as a PoS network

Over the past year, there has been debate over whether PoS networks are superior to PoW networks. The Ethereum Foundation estimates that this Merge will lower Ethereum’s power consumption by 99%.

The co-founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, said that the Merge would not only solve the sustainability issues on the network but also mitigate the risks posed by malicious miners that accept bribes to alter on-chain data.

While the Merge offers major benefits, there are also some drawbacks. The Merge is expected to put thousands of Ethereum miners out of business. These miners will be phased out with the difficulty bomb launch and left stranded with expensive mining equipment.

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