Ethereum is gradually but certainly abandoning consensus-based proof-of-work. It has not long ago enmbarked on the transition from Ethereum to Proof of Stake-based Ethereum 2. (eth2). Now the Ethereum developers of Prysmatic Labs have launched an initial implementation of eth2 in their personal testnet. Prysm Labs co-founder Preston Van Loon announced this on May 7th on Medium :
It’s here, it’s here, it’s here! Over the last few months, we’ve worked hard and worked every day to provide the community with a public testnet for the Ethereum 2. Proof of Stake Beacon Chain. We have it, it’s live, and you can steal! This is a non-trivial, critical step to taking this technology to the next level and we need you to participate.
Running: staking and sharing
The Testnet provides you with a view of where the journey for Ethereum is going – but without the need of owning Ethereum 2. characteristics. For instance, what it currently operates is staking. If you want to consider yourself as a validator, you need to have 3.2 ethers from the Görli-Testnet (GÖETH) . Proof of Stake must give Ethereum far better scalability. The developers want to attain this, over all, in the interaction of PoS and the Sharding technology . The latter is applied by Prysm in a diminished but practical form.
If you want to get a concept of the Ethereum 2 Client Prysm with Sharding and Casper Proof of Stake , you are required to set up a client for the beacon chain and a validator client.
Not working: EVM and Smart Contracts
Van Loon emphasizes in the medium post that the Testnet is not purely a virtual simulation.
The test network is publicly available and NOT a simulation. We provide a cloud cluster of nodes that participate in the consensus, but anyone can participate in keeping the network alive.
Furthermore, the testnet still does not support Smart Contracts, nor is it capable of hosting an extremely significant amount of validators. The recent test network has only “the task to manage a register of validators, Casper Proof of Stake to enable and drive a blockchain” – after all.