Many Ethereum testnets are available for experimenting with smart contracts and deploying decentralized applications before going live on the main Ethereum network, but few manage to be both consistent and safe. Görli Testnet is a new platform that aims to solve all those problems, ChainSafe Systems CEO announced on September 13, 2018.
What are Testnets?
Before deploying smart contracts to the Ethereum mainnet, a series of tests need to be conducted to rectify the platform’s efficiency and double check its safety.
This process requires building a network that is almost identical in practice to the mainnet. However, as most blockchain platforms require smart contracts to pay gas for their computations on the main network, figuring out how to create these testnets that run for free is one of the main challenges developers face today.
Testnets allow developers to interact with a working prototype of the final smart contract to test it before it goes live without having to pay.
The most significant difference in these networks is their economic incentive. Testnets use Proof of Authority (PoA) as a consensus mechanism as opposed to Proof of Work (PoW) used on blockchain networks. While blockchain networks are protected by mass computation (PoW), testnets are protected by a set group of validator nodes (PoA).
According to Aidan Hyman, co-Founder, and CEO of ChainSafe Systems, the Görli Testnet is a new testnet that allows for both Geth and Parity Ethereum clients to act as validators on the network.
While the two major clients used to run the Ethereum Network are Geth and Parity Ethereum, testnets of these clients, Rinkeby and Kovan, are entirely isolated from one another.
In a September 13 Medium post, Hyman noted that this is because both clients use a different Proof of Authority consensus mechanism and that Parity Ethereum includes features such as pwasm (WebAssembly support), which Geth does not.
Afri Schoedon, one of the members of the team that developed Gorli, said that their goal was to implement one or multiple of these engines across different clients, such as Geth and Parity Ethereum.
ChainSafe Systems participated in ETHBerlin on September 9, where they started implementing Aura, the PoA consensus mechanism used in Parity Ethereum, into Geth.
After breaking down the specification into an Ethereum Improvement Proposal, the team behind ChainSafe systems and added a flag for the Görli chain in each client and, most importantly, write Aura in Go.
Hyman said that the Görli team would be continuing with the project and reaching to the Geth and Parity Ethereum teams to understand the specifics of the Aura consensus mechanism better.
“After this short research period, we will begin reimplementing Aura into Geth readying it to be pushed upstream hopefully. Once we have attempted to push the Görli testnet upstream to Parity Ethereum and Geth, we plan on implementing Clique in Rust,” Hyman wrote on Medium.