Ropsten Testnet to be Decommissioned This Month
Ropsten, the first public testnet to support Ethereum’s transition to a Proof of Stake system, will be shut down this month, the Ethereum Foundation announced Tuesday.
The Merge went live on Ropsten in June in an important step forward for the most important upgrade in Ethereum’s history. Ropsten’s remaining validator nodes will stop supporting the network between Dec. 15 and Dec. 30.
“After this, Ropsten will no longer be supported by client, testing, or infrastructure teams,” the Ethereum Foundation said on a blog post.
The Rinkeby testnet will also expire in the middle of next year so that users and application developers have ample chance to migrate to either the Goerli or Sepolia test networks. Rinkeby did not support The Merge, meaning it does not offer the same functionality as the Ethereum mainnet.
Ethereum’s devs first tested The Merge in March on Kiln, a closed testnet that the public could not interact with. Ropsten then underwent its own chain-merge, marking the first time that a public Ethereum testnet had transitioned to Proof of Stake consensus.
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Devs completed the upgrade on Sepolia later in June and Goerli in August, paving the way for The Merge’s mainnet deployment in September.
The decommissioning of Ropsten comes amid increasing scrutiny of Ethereum’s testnet ecosystem.
In October, reports of a widespread shortage of Goerli ETH began circulating on social media. Like Ether, Goerli ETH is used to pay for transitions on the network, meaning that developers are unable to experiment with their code without Goerli ETH.
But opportunistic bot developers were reportedly exhausting Goerli’s faucets — websites that freely distribute testnet ETH — forcing devs to pay for coins they should normally be able to obtain for free.
With several of Ethereum’s testnets set to be deprecated, users fear that Ethereum’s testnet ETH shortage may worsen.
“The Merge and legacy testnet deprecations have provided an opportunity for the Ethereum community to rethink its broader approach to test networks,” the Ethereum Foundation said. It encouraged community members to submit proposals for how Ethereum’s testnet should be deployed and managed moving forward on the Ethereum Magicians forum and in community calls.
On Nov. 2, a proposal was submitted to the forum advocating for new testnets to be launched every two years, and shut down after five.