Ethereum developers have commenced a countdown to the closure of the blockchain‘s oldest testing grounds for native applications, known as Ropsten. In an announcement dated November 30th, Ethereum Foundation said the testnet has been deprecated and will be fully sunsetted between December 15th and 31st.
Why is Ethereum’s Ropsten testnet shutting down?
Ropsten is the oldest-running Ethereum replica network that allows both protocol and infrastructure developers to test applications before shipping them to the mainnet. Ropsten was originally based on Ethereum’s proof-of-work algorithm but later migrated to the recently-launched proof-of-stake beacon chain, in preparation for Ethereum 2.0.
But since the migration months ago, Ethereum Foundation said that support on Ropsten has steadily declined, likewise activities and participation on the network. The remaining developers and “validator nodes will be shut down during the December 15-31, 2022 period,” which eventually puts the oldest testnet to rest.
After Ropsten shuts down this month, another testnet dubbed Rinkeby will be slated to also stop working in mid-2023. Unlike the former, Rinkeby is not compatible with the merge to proof-of-stake, which even justifies the deprecation.
The developers previously said running nodes and maintaining testnets is difficult, because these networks are full-featured blockchains themselves that grow in state and history over time. Shutting down the testnets allows them more time and resources to focus on maintaining two other post-merge approved testnets, Goerli and Sepolia, in the long term.
What is Goerli and Sepolia?
Goerli is the recommended testnet for developers looking test staking protocols before deploying to the mainnet, and it’s also useful for testing smart contract interactions. Sepolia is reportedly a fairly-new testnet for developers looking to test applications in a lighter-weight chain.
Until Ropsten and Rinkeby shut down, developers on the testnets can still move their applications to either Goerli or Sepolia for continued support, according to Ethereum Foundation.