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Ethereum Devs Call Mainnet Shadow Fork a ‘Huge Success’, Propose Fixes for Bugs

Ruholamin Haqshanas
Last updated: | 2 min read
Source: AdobeStock / harsha singh/EyeEm


Ethereum (ETH) developers have described the first-ever shadow fork, designed to stress-test developers’ assumptions on existing testnets and the mainnet, as successful. While several bugs and issues were found, the devs were quick to propose fixes.

“The mainnet shadow fork was a huge success,” Ethereum developer Marius van der Wijden, who initially came up with the shadow fork, said on Twitter. 

However, he noted that as the first issue, Nethermind, an Ethereum-based software systems provider, and Hyperledger Besu, a Java-based open-source Ethereum client, faced problems.

“Nethermind and Besu stopped at the transition, but a fix is being deployed for Nethermind that allows them to sync up,” van der Wijden said. “Geth and Erigon are progressing happily. All beacon chain clients are in agreement.”

More recently, the developers found yet another issue with the shadow fork that they “could’ve easily missed on the devnets,” according to van der Wijden.

“The default gas limit is set to 8 million, but miners voted it up to 30M,” the developer said. “Since most validators would run with the default value, the gas limit would quickly drop.” Ethereum devs have already proposed a fix for this.

Other developers, including Terence Tsao, who is also a founding team at Prysmatic Labs, which builds technical infrastructure for the Ethereum blockchain, have called the shadow fork a success as well.

Described as a “historical event,” the shadow fork is a way to stress test “assumptions around syncing and state growth,” said Parithosh Jayanthi, an Ethereum Foundation developer, adding that it will also provide “a way to check if our assumptions work on existing testnets and/or mainnet.”

Jayanthi also detailed that to shadow fork a mainnet, in this case Ethereum, they “take its config and add merge related fields such as Total Terminal Difficulty (TTD) and Merge Fork Block.”

Ethereum core developer Tim Beiko noted that the shadow fork is useful as it enables developers to see “how nodes react when The Merge happens using only a small number of nodes and without disrupting the canonical chain.”

The shadow fork went live on Monday, and its outcome will be key to determining the timing of “The Merge,” when the current Ethereum Mainnet will merge with the beacon chain proof-of-stake (PoS) system.

As previously reported, Ethereum took another step toward The Merge in March by releasing the Kiln testnet merge, described as the last public testnet before switching to the PoS mining algorithm.

Nevertheless, The Merge is projected to happen sometime in the second quarter of the year.

At 7:24 UTC on Thursday morning, ETH is trading at USD 3,015, down by 5.3% over the past 24 hours and 14.4% in a week, according to CoinGecko.


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