Devnet, testnet, mainnet: Ethereum’s next upgrade progresses — slowly

Say hello to Holešky, a new Ethereum testnet that successfully went live today after a configuration problem prevented the network from launching two weeks ago on the 1-year anniversary of the Merge.

Holešky is intended to replace Ethereum’s Goerli testnet — Ethereum’s validator and staking-focused testnet — which will be retired in 2024.

A minor bug reported on today’s all-core-developers call, affecting some Prysm Ethereum clients, was not enough to derail the launch, according to Barnabas Busa, a software engineer at the Ethereum Foundation. Validator participation has been climbing in the hours since, Busa said, expected to reach 90% by Friday.

Goerli is still expected to be used for the Dencun upgrade, featuring EIP-4844, on its way to mainnet release. 

But before that step, the upgrade has been running a gauntlet of developer networks — or devnets.

Core developers discussed the imminent launch of Devnet-9, which will debut “Friday or early next week” according to project coordinator Tim Beiko. That’s slightly delayed from the planned Sept. 27 start date projected on the previous developer call.

The Dencun upgrade initially aimed for a hard fork date in the fourth quarter of this year. However, due to the slower-than-expected progress of the Devnets, a 2023 hard fork now seems unlikely.

Busa told his colleagues on the call, “we probably need a Devnet 10 too,” though it’s expected to be “a shorter-lived Devnet.”

The new goal is for the first testnet launch to occur prior to November’s Devconnect conference, taking place in Istanbul in mid-November.

If all goes smoothly, the mainnet could follow as early as January 2024.

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