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Ethereum's Holesky Testnet

Sep 8, 2023
4 min read

This blog post will cover:

  • What are Ethereum testnets?
  • Types of Ethereum testnets
  • The Holesky testnet

In August 2023, during an online meeting of Ethereum developers, one of the discussion topics was launching a brand new testnet. The network called Holesky is supposed to go live on September 15.

Today, we are going to find out what the Holesky network is as well as how it can potentially improve the platform.

What are Ethereum testnets?

The testnets are a very important element of Ethereum because they give developers an opportunity to carry out tests with decentralized applications (dApps) and various other Ethereum-related technologies without having to spend actual ether (ETH). 

These testnets essentially function as parallel blockchains that emulate the Ethereum mainnet's capabilities, but they use testnet-specific tokens rather than real coins.

Developers receive these testnet tokens for free from specialized sites and services, testnet faucets. 

Thus, Ethereum testnets serve as a sandbox for developers, enabling them to ensure that code behaves as intended pretty much risk-free.

Types of Ethereum testnets

As of today, the platform supports two public testnets. The first one, called Sepolia, was introduced in 2021. It is primarily devoted to dApp development. The testnet employs a permissioned validator set. It possesses a small state and history, resulting in rapid synchronization and minimal storage requirements for setting up a node. 

The second testnet, Goerli, will be replaced by Holesky. It has existed since early 2019 with the goal of running validating and staking tests. Goerli is open to users interested in running a testnet validator and testing protocol upgrades. 

Its features include a permissionless validator set, and a larger state (good for complex smart contract tests). It is not perfect though, with longer synchronization times and more significant storage requirements.

The Holesky testnet

The new testnet is planned for release on September 15, 2023. The team emphasized the serious work conducted on Holesky: it involved nearly 1.4 million validators who tested its capabilities. 

Holesky, just like its predecessor, operates using special test tokens instead of real Ether. The developers introduced a substantial 1.6 billion Holesky ETH into circulation, so the lack of tokens should not be a problem. 

Holesky will facilitate the overall development of the protocol, serving as a valuable platform for improving Ethereum's core capabilities. Sepolia will keep specializing in the testing of Ethereum-based apps.

The word "Holesky" (and its other version Holesovice) originates from the name of a train station in Prague. Moreover, it subtly alludes to its chain ID, 17000, mirroring the postal code of the area.

It is also important to note that this testnet will act as a stepping stone for the upcoming Cancun-Deneb upgrades.

In conclusion, despite the fact that Ethereum is the undoubted leader when it comes to dApps and smart contracts, the team behind it is still constantly improving the system. Testnets are a big part of any enhancements, so introducing a new one should be extremely useful.

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