Testnets 101

Testnet = Public Beta

In the era of decentralized computing, you might hear a few unfamiliar terms being used to describe the various project phases of blockchain companies. One of the terms thrown around a lot in the blockchain space is  “Testnet”. In this article we’re going to explain the significance of Testnets, their objectives, their unique role in the success of individual blockchains, and why developers and miners decide to join them.

Testnets = Public Beta & QA in one

Testnets are are alternative blockchains used primarily for testing purposes, as opposed to a blockchain’s livenet which is the live environment where transactions take place. Once a change is made to the livenet it is not easily reverted. This is why Testnets are actively used by developers to introduce new features, test different protocols and generally try out any big changes in functionality before ultimately pushing them to the livenet and potentially ‘disrupting’ the network. 

The decentralized nature of blockchains makes them difficult to change without consequences. This is why Testnets are so crucial to the success of individual blockchains. Without a test environment, developers would have to take costly risks to attempt changes or write new functions on the blockchain. In this way the Testnet acts as a public beta and provides a QA test environment for developers. Every blockchain company and cryptocurrency either has or is working towards launching a Testnet in the near future.

Examples of Ethereum Based Testnets:

Rinkeby (GETH Config): https://www.rinkeby.io/#stats

Kovan: https://kovan-testnet.github.io/website/

Benefits of Testnets: Developers

Testnets are important to ensure that developers feel comfortable implementing changes or launching functionality on the livenet. Testnets generally have their own wallet systems to test transactions, and often there are faucets which will disperse Testnet coins to new users so they can run operations on the Testnet as if they were using real tokens on a livenet.

Faucet’s are unique to each Testnet and they are used to provide simulated value in Tokens/Testnet Coins, that accounts would have to use to perform functions on public blockchains. These Testnet coins are often generated by mining on a Testnet, usually dispersed and controlled by whoever created the blockchain but other parties can generate and distribute Testnet coins as well like this BTC Testnet Faucet.

Developers interested in a specific blockchain should take full advantage of the Testnet’s availability to try out their ideas. On an Ethereum Testnet for example, developers might want to test their smart contracts and dApp deployments before running them on the livenet. In this way, developers can benefit from understanding a blockchain’s protocol before deciding to build an application for it.

Benefits of Testnets: Miners

Miners also benefit from using Testnets because it enables them to similarly, test various methods and mining configurations on the blockchain before implementing a potentially costly mining strategy on the livenet. Nodes on Testnets may also receive incentives for testing new features for the network.  Testnets are especially important for miners that are working with new networks that are yet to launch a livenet as Testnets allow miners to prepare in advance for the launch.

Support for  Testnets

Support for Testnets are often managed in support forums and chat services like Slack and Gitter as is the case with the Ethereum based Testnet, Kovan. These channels enable easy and responsive communications between end users and support engineers. For the latter, they alleviate the burden of finding and highlighting issues that need fixing while ensuring small errors don’t impact user adoption. Additionally, it increases the sense of community around a blockchain project where everyone is participating in the betterment of the project.

BlockApps Testnet Launch, December 4th:

BlockApps officially launched our Testnet on December 1st and we are already seeing a large amount of new accounts and participation on the network, we encourage developers, project managers & miners to try out the Testnet and see what it and they are capable of.

Getting Started (Link)

TestNet Dashboard (Link)

Please reach out to the BlockApps product team via our website’s live chat, the BlockApps Support Forum or write us directly at product@blockapps.net to provide feedback, ask questions and generally communicate with us so that we can improve our product to meet the needs of you and your team. 

The BlockApps Testnet offers:

  • Apps Tab/dApp Deployment
  • Smart Contract Deployment
  • Contract Editor
  • SMD system dashboard
  • Accounts/wallets
  • Test Faucet

Other Available Testnets

Ethereum Based Testnets:

Rinkeby (GETH Config): https://www.rinkeby.io/#stats

Kovan: https://kovan-testnet.github.io/website/

Kovan Support via Gitter: https://gitter.im/kovan-testnet/Lobby

BTC Testnet Links:

Bitcoin Based Testnet Explorer: https://live.blockcypher.com/btc-testnet/

Bitcoin Testnet Faucet: https://testnet.manu.backend.hamburg/faucet

2017-12-04T10:10:00+00:00

About the Author:

BlockApps is the best way to build decentralized blockchain applications. STRATO, BlockApps’s flagship product, is a full-stack technology solution that allows you to build industry-specific Blockchain applications on top of your own customized permissioned private, consortium (semi-private) ledgers, public Blockchain ledgers, or on the permission-less public Ethereum platform.

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