According to Tim Beiko of the Ethereum Foundation, Ethereum core developers are planning a new testnet called Holli in response to the difficulty of getting ETH on the main blockchain testnets. The release of Holli, expected later this year, could improve the testing environment for client and application developers, as well as node operators. It aims to address issues related to acquiring ETH on Ethereum testnets, especially Goerli. The new testnet will be specifically customized to meet the needs of client and application developers, as well as validators, Beiko said.
Testnets are cloned blockchains for experimental purposes, allowing developers to deploy applications and check for bugs before deploying them to the mainnet. The Ethereum ecosystem currently includes two main testnets: Goerli and Sepolia.
Goerli is a mission-critical network serving as the first native multi-tenant testnet widely used by validators. However, Goerli’s distribution method for native ETH (GoETH) is considered “less reliable,” Beiko said. The distribution of GoETH is largely in the hands of a few validating organizations. They distribute small amounts of GoETH via “bundles” to verified users on Twitter, raising privacy and time concerns. Recently, the developers of the Layer Zero interoperability protocol launched a cross-chain liquidity pool that allows users to buy GoETH. While this market is trying to quell developer complaints about the GoETH acquisition, many believe it could jeopardize the free nature of the testnet.
Sepolia, another testnet, has attempted to solve the supply problem with a design that allows test validators to freely mint Sepolia-ETH (SepETH). However, Sepolia is not open to validators without permission, which means that its offer could be hidden by several entities. Consequently, Beiko and other core developers proposed to introduce Holli as a new testnet to address supply issues and provide a better environment for developers and validators.
To make Holli-ETH more accessible to application developers, Beiko has offered automatic address allocation to all developers who have ever deployed smart contracts on testnets or the Ethereum mainnet.
For example, blockchain development firm Eclipse announced the upcoming release of Polygon SVM, a Solana-compatible blockchain built for the Polygon network. The goal of the Eclipse Polygon SVM blockchain is to allow Solana (SOL) developers to move their applications to Polygon without having to rebuild their code for the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). The Polygon SVM testnet is expected to go live in the first quarter of this year and the mainnet in the second quarter. Polygon SVM is a sovereign storage blockchain that uses the SeaLevel Virtual Machine (SVM), a computing environment that allows developers to deploy Rust-based Solana applications on other blockchains such as Polygon (MATIC).
Solana smart contracts can run natively on Polygon SVM, which means they can remain unchanged and deploy directly to Polygon SVM. The blockchain will use Optimistic Rollups technology similar to other Layer 2 projects such as Arbitrum (ARB) or Optimism (OP) to create blocks. Rust developers will be able to port their code from Solana to Eclipse and run it on the Polygon network. It can then be returned to Solana for added security using rollups. Eclipse is not the only project working on extending Solana applications to other blockchains. Nitro, another blockchain project, is developing a network to deploy and run Solana applications on Sei, a soon-to-be-launched blockchain on Cosmos (ATOM).