July 20, 2020 / Beginners

What Is Testnet?


The development of a blockchain project is a lengthy process that consists of many stages. The slightest flaw in one of them can lead to fatal consequences. To avoid this, developers use a special Testnet network, which allows you to check the performance without risks.

What Is Testnet

Testnet is a beta version of the project, designed to test the network without having to spend the original cryptocurrency. The coins used in the testnet do not participate in the general emission.

In other words, Testnet can be called a draft version of a project that exists parallel to it. Developers implement and check the functionality of functionality and updates without risks to the main network with its help. The advantages of creating such test networks are as follows:

  • low complexity within the network allows using weak equipment for testing;
  • the absence of the real value of the featured coins excludes financial losses for projects;
  • it is possible to create any number of records and coins.

Testing can be done using scripts, API, CLI, or RPC. Developers have an unlimited supply of time and resources, which allows them to identify all existing gaps.

Testnet is a kind of “sandbox” where developers implement and test their ideas. At the same time, the principle of operation of the two networks is almost identical except several key features:

  • In most cases, the wallet addresses the main and test networks are different.
  • Testnet speed ​​is different. All operations in alternative networks are performed much faster. Issuing coins, mining, and verifying transactions in such networks is not difficult for you, so developers can fully concentrate on development.

Why Is Testnet Needed

Testnet is very important when creating any kind of cryptocurrency. This is the most optimal way to check the performance of the project and identify all the flaws in the code without a financial loss for developers and consumers. The creation of alternative networks on platforms that allow you to create decentralized applications on your own is, especially in demand. Ethereum or EOS testnet allows aspiring blockchain developers to launch test networks and gradually learn from mistakes.

Testnet is needed not only before launching new projects. Any experiments introduced into existing projects can also undergo preliminary testing without affecting the main network. Developers of Zcash, Monero, and other cryptocurrencies, improving and introducing new principles into the operation of systems, first monitor their functionality in the test network.

At the same time, testing was carried out for projects such as decentralized exchange platforms, for example, BitShares. The BitMEX testnet exchange platform allows you to try trading cryptocurrency in test mode, providing users with a kind of trading emulator.

How Does Testing Work In Testnet

First of all, the network is tested by the developers themselves. They check its performance and, if necessary, make appropriate adjustments to the program code.

As the next step, developers usually employ third-party testers to test the network’s performance under load. Experiment participants are usually paid with popular cryptocurrencies or are offered a reward in the form of new network coins. First, a small group of test users is involved – up to 100 people. Further, the number of participants in the experiment can gradually increase and move to the second stage of testing with a large number of users.

During testing, users check not only the performance of the system but also observe the work of real users on the network. Throughout the experiment, the developers keep in touch with each participant. The process takes about a month. This helps to make the network as efficient as possible and to avoid any disruptions. After that, a new cryptocurrency or project is ready to go public.

Testnet vs Mainnet

Before entering the market and becoming available to a wide range of users, blockchain projects go through the main stages of creation. The life cycles of a project can be roughly represented as follows:

  • idea creation;
  • schematic drawing up of a plan;
  • development;
  • testnet launch;
  • testing;
  • correction of bugs;
  • launch of the main network (Mainnet).

Testnet and Mainnet operate on the same principles but play completely different roles. Mainnet is the main blockchain network, where digital coins with real value appear. These are the coins that they will invest in and use in everyday life. Because they are economically valuable, testing on them would be expensive.

The key differences between Testnet and Mainnet are as follows:

  • Mainnet is a major cryptocurrency network with economic value. Testnet is the main blockchain alternative with no financial value.
  • The coins of both systems are incompatible with each other. Users cannot transfer tokens from the alternate network to the main one to receive easy benefits, and transactions in the opposite direction are also impossible.
  • You can manage your own node in Testnet with minimal power. The main network is filled with competing communication nodes, so the complexity is much higher.
  • The mainnet has stricter rules as it deals with real valuable assets. Testnet has increased flexibility.
  • The blocks of transactions in both networks are different, although they work on the same principle. Generally, both the number of transactions and the scope of the network differ.


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