This is a true milestone and is evidence that Ethereum’s leadership is strong and continues to set and achieve goals for the future. While there is no way of knowing how successful this testing rollout will be, hopes are high for the new updates, which are expected to bring more security and speed to the platform.
Geth 1.7 is the mechanism that will usher in Metropolis. Originally developed in Ethereum’s youthful Frontier, Geth is the command line interface for running full nodes on the Ethereum blockchain. It’s essentially how people talk to the blockchain. Geth 1.7 includes updates for the nine EIPs as well as a critical time stamp for the first Metropolis hard fork, Byzantium.
Ropsten simulates the Ethereum network and the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). Developers can check new code and verify that the changes are working correctly. Executable distributed code contracts, also known as “smart contracts,” can also be uploaded to Ropsten and allow for interactive developer testing without requiring Ether gas payments to process transactions. Ropsten is basically a free clone of the Ethereum network with diminished cybersecurity. (It’s a testing network so it doesn’t need robust security.)
There are two main upgrade optimizations taking place today. The first is that data storage requirements for fast-synced nodes have been nearly halved, from 26.3GB to 14.9GB. The second notable update is the reduction of filtering time required for contract events being stored and indexed by the EVM from minutes to seconds.
This is the beginning of a new era and a gradual shift away from proof-of-work and toward proof-of-stake. There will be more testing and hard forks to come. Stay tuned for updates as they become available.