There has been a lot of scrutiny around the high power consumption of the Proof of Work consensus algorithm. To bypass the limitations, Ethereum Network earlier announced its plan to shift from a Proof of Work to a Proof of Stake consensus algorithm. Ethereum has been slowly shifting towards the PoS consensus algorithm and, to the same end, released its first mainnet, Shadow Fork.
The primary purpose behind releasing Shadow Fork is to stress test the existing assumptions regarding the mainnets and testnets and understand the upcoming merger. Parathi Jayanathi, the Ethereum DevOps Engineer, tweeted, “The aim of the Kiln merge testnet was to allow the community to practice running their nodes, deploying contracts, testing infrastructure, etc.,”
The Kiln was the last testnet for the merger that tested the shift from Ethereum’s execution layer from PoW to PoS consensus algorithm.
The Multi-stage transition from PoW to PoS
Ethereum last month released a blog post talking about the whole shift towards an energy efficiency protocol and the various stages of the transition. In the blog, devs also talked about the culmination of six years of R&D that was done to enhance the security of the blockchain network along with developing an energy-efficient model.
One of the significant differences between PoW and PoS is that PoS is majorly validated by stakers instead of miners. Moreover, while PoW requires a high amount of energy, PoS can achieve the same results while consuming considerably less energy.
The Shadow Fork refers to the process of copying data from a mainnet to a testnet. So for Ethereum, data is being transferred from the mainnet to the testnet to stress test the features and network before public launch. As the tesnet mimics the mainnet closely, the Shadow Fork is currently processing over a million transactions every day.
The fork is connected to peers using a Canonical Ethereum Chain that shares information with the main network. According to a tweet by Ethereum Foundation Developer Marius van der Wijden, the tweet has processed over 1,166,016 transactions with an average block time of 14.8 seconds.
This launch marks a significant step for the Ethereum Developers as the Shadow Fork takes the stress test to a higher level in terms of the PoS actualization.