Ethereum 2.0 Public Testnet “Altona” Is Now Live, and Activity Is Booming

Ethereum’s much-awaited Altona testnet is now live, a release confirmed June 30. Four validators are already running nodes on the platform, which shall soon be available to the wider community.

Altona Goes Live

The development is the first-ever multi-client ahead of the public ETH 2.0 launch. The testnet, officially the Phase 0 v0.12.1, is currently active and is showing significant activity as data on Beaconchain shows.

If this runs for a few months without major issues, the beacon chain will go live, marking an important step in the progress towards ETH 2.0.

For the uninitiated, the Ethereum Beacon Chain works towards maintaining a set of nodes as block validators, including managing the withdrawal process of a validator making its exit from the system.

It’s important to note that Altona “is not a simulation.” The network is a real persistent end-user testnet based on a slightly modified mainnet configuration. Once initial testing is finished, “everyone,” as the release notes, should be able to add validators and beacon chain nodes.

Altona proves to both individual and enterprise clients that the network is ready to support a potential beacon-chain mainnet. Therefore, it is time to template the testnet as close as possible to the mainnet.

Another testnet will be rolled out after Altona, which will be followed by the actual ETH 2.0 launch. The previous testnet was Oynx, a single-client testnet closed to the broader community.

ETHBoston’s Justin Leroux noted in this regard on Twitter:

“Then finally one as identical to mainnet as possible + an incentivized “attack net” to earn bounties for hacks.”

Next Release to Be More Community Focussed

As BTCManager reported last week, Ethereum developer Danny Ryan said the multi-client testnet of v0.12 Altona was expected to launch before July. 

The testnet will be entirely controlled by the constituent client teams, such as Lighthouse, Nimbus, Prysm, and Teku, Afri (an Ethereum developer), and team members of the Ethereum Foundation.

He noted at the time that Altona was still more of a “devnet” than one built with the end-users in mind, despite the framework being eventually accessible to all. 

Ryan added the next release will be a larger, community focused testnet “with the mainnet configuration of a minimum of 16,384 validators to start.”

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