A blockchain is an electronic distributed ledger. A blockchain network operates on a “main network”. This is the location where transactions occur. The name “MainNet” is short for main network.
Before a change is made to a MainNet of a blockchain, it is made sure that the change will operate satisfactorily. The check for the change is done on a “test network”. The name “TestNet” is short for test network.
Here are two reports for TestNets:
- On April 14th, 2020, the test of the Topaz TestNet for Ethereum 2.0 started.
- On May 1st, 2020, the Cardano foundation wrote that the final cycle for the Shelley-Haskell TestNet for Cardano is almost complete.
The MainNet for a blockchain network shows that the blockchain operates satisfactorily and that the blockchain can be used for a transaction such as to send a payment. It is necessary to use the native cryptocurrencies or token to pay the fee for a transaction that occurs on the MainNet.
A TestNet is equivalent to the MainNet. That is, it uses the same software and technology as the MainNet and it has the same properties. A TestNet is not connected to the MainNet. It used by developers examine changes to see how the network operates. The transactions that occur on a TestNet are used to check the changes for errors. Since the Testnet is experimental, the tokens used for a transaction on it have no value.
The two primary uses for a TestNet are:
- to continue to develop the blockchain
- to test new dApps
There is no fee to download and to use a TestNet.
The difference between a MainNet and TestNet
The differences between a MainNet and a TestNet are:
- It was written above that a TestNet is not connected to the MainNet. Thus, the Network ID and a Genesis Block are different. A network ID is used to identify a network. A Genesis Block is the first block in a blockchain network..
- It was written above that the tokens used on a TestNet have no value. These tokens are different form the native cryptocurrency or token used on the MainNet.
A MainNet and a TestNet are almost equivalent, but they have very different properties and uses. The MainNet is used to send and receive transactions while the TestNet is used to:
- fix problems in the MainNet
- add new functions to the MainNet ecosystem.