Ethereum is on the verge of a major upgrade, with the testnet set to merge in June.

The Ropsten public testnet will be upgraded to proof-of-stake consensus on June 8, putting Ethereum developers one step closer to the long-awaited ETH 2.0 network upgrade.

On Monday, Ethereum DevOps developer Parathi Jayanathi sent a pull request to the eth-clients GitHub repository with the configuration code for upgrading the testnet.

Last month, engineers working on The Merge, an upgrade to the Ethereum network that would transition it from a proof-of-work consensus mechanism to a proof-of-stake consensus model, began testing how the switch would operate on a shadow fork.

Two days later, Ethereum Foundation developer Tim Beiko announced on Twitter that the upgrade had been delayed until the latter half of 2022.

"It won't be in June, but more likely in the months following," he tweeted. "There's no specific timeline yet, but we're definitely nearing the end of [proof of work] on Ethereum."

The Merge effectively ends proof-of-work mining on the Ethereum network. Mining, which requires using high-end, energy-intensive machines to solve hard mathematical riddles, is now how new ETH currency are created and transactions on the network are validated. When the network transitions to proof of stake, "miners" will be replaced by "validators," who stake (i.e., pledge) ETH to validate and protect the network and are compensated in ETH for their efforts.

All of this is expected to significantly lower the amount of energy needed by the Ethereum blockchain. It will also reduce new ETH issuance by approximately 90%, which market observers predict will bring significant deflationary pressure to Ethereum if demand for the asset remains high.

The Ethereum Foundation is increasing bug bounties.

As it prepares to upgrade the mainnet, the Ethereum Foundation has increased the prizes available through its bug bounty program, which was introduced in 2021. The program pays out on a tiered system, with the highest awards going to serious vulnerabilities with a high effect and likelihood of occuring.

It has also consolidated what were formerly two independent programs for its execution (Eth1) and consensus (Eth2) layers. Bug bounty hunters can now earn up to $250,000 in Ethereum or DAI for uncovering vulnerabilities that fall inside the program's scope.

To ensure that The Merge does not introduce vulnerabilities into a network that sees billions of dollars in transactions every day, the program has increased the ante from $50,000 rewards. According to CoinMarketCap, Ethereum was trading at $1,968.22 on Wednesday and has a market worth of $238 billion.

The maximum Ethereum bounty for reporting vulnerabilities in upgrades that are now live on public testnets or are expected to be released on the Ethereum mainnet has been doubled, bringing the total to $500,000.

 

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"There are already many efforts being coordinated by client teams and the community to further improve knowledge and skill across the two layers," Ethereum Foundation engineer Fredrik Svantes wrote in a blog post on Monday. "By unifying the Bounty Program, we will boost visibility and coordinate efforts for finding and mitigating vulnerabilities."

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