About the Public Testnet

The various features and limitations of the Prysm 'Sapphire' Phase 0 testnet release.

Features of this release

  • The testnet is publicly accessible and NOT a simulation. We provide a cloud cluster of nodes that participate in consensus, but anyone can join the network and contribute.

  • The testnet is a single client 'Prysm network'. Unlike Ethereum 1.0, which has Geth and Parity, this network is entirely Prysm-only.

  • Staking of Goerli test ETH is included in the network. Users can utilise the deposit contract, run a validator client, and participate in consensus to earn rewards or penalties.

  • Features LibP2P by Protocol Labs for decentralised, peer-to-peer networking of nodes.

  • Implements v0.4 of the official beacon chain specification created by the Ethereum Research team (the latest version is v0.8.3).

Limitations of this release

  • The network does not include smart contract or EVM-related functionality. This is a part of Ethereum 2.0 Phase 2. The current testnet is only tasked with managing a registry of validators, allowing for Casper Proof-of-Stake and the advancement of the blockchain.

  • This is NOT a multi-client network, though this is the next step most ETH2 teams have in mind.

  • The testnet uses different configuration parameters than what we’d see on mainnet; that is, we support fewer shards, a smaller validator count, and different constants for the sake of simplicity.

  • The testnet does not contain beacon chain transfers or withdrawals, as those will come in later iterations and are not critical for showcasing the core functions of the beacon chain.

  • The testnet is not optimized for a large amount of validators to join. That is, we have not yet implemented a super-optimal LMD GHOST fork-choice rule, among other features, to make the code robust enough for hundreds of thousands of validators to join.