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Testnet Meaning: Test Addresses and Coins

Vance Wood

Vance Wood

June 20, 2024

7 min read

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There are various blockchain networks, each of which has its unique set of rules regulating how data are stored and contracts are signed. As they need both stable functioning and regular updating, most blockchains have two subnetworks: mainnet and testnet. Today, let’s see what is a testnet and how it’s employed.

Due to their robust potential to be a medium of exchange, mainnet blockchain tokens have value. Navigating the current Bitcoin and Ethereum prices is enough to understand how large it can be. Unlike them, testnet tokens have no value, while their networks can be modified if developers working there agree on it.

Let’s see how that can help with updating and developing.

What is testnet in crypto?

Depending on the nature of the blockchain, there can be testnets for different purposes, from simple test cost swapping to decentralized applications (dApps) development in a regulated and cost-free environment.

Testnet meaning

Basically, it’s a fork of the blockchain’s current mainnet, where all its features are preserved, but tokens have no value. The environment is regulated by developers who create their applications and contribute to the network’s overall upgrade.

To understand what are testnet tokens, imagine a playground where all interactions are real, with all consensus mechanisms and infrastructure in place, but none of them has any real-world consequences. It makes possible unlimited testing to understand how the application will behave in various conditions and scenarios.

Testnet VS Crypto faucet

As testnet tokens have no value, they can be generated for free, in amounts enough to test the network capabilities. For that, users can create a testnet wallet and use a testnet faucet to obtain a test BTC for free. The current version of Bitcoin testnet is called testnet, due to being the third testnet version.

It’s important to remember that no testnet-mainnet interactions are possible, so the only algorithm to deal with testnet is as follows.

  1. Create a testnet wallet to connect with the network.
  2. Search for a good faucet: either on a trustworthy service, such as GetBlock, or with good reviews.
  3. Use testnet tokens for exchanging between test accounts and exploring the network operating principles.

Therefore, the meaning of testnet is to enable developers and crypto enthusiasts to start their Web3 journey without spending anything.

How does testnet work?

Let’s now see the principle of their work, but first, it’s better to understand how to obtain testnet wallets.

How to generate a testnet address?

Let’s see how we can obtain their addresses. While Bitcoin isn’t a programmable blockchain, its testnet helps users understand how to send costs and connect wallets without paying any commissions.

The Bitcoin testnet address can be generated manually using specialized services. For example, BitAddress is a long-standing service that generates Bitcoin wallets: its public and private keys, which are enough to send and receive funds.

BitAddress_Bitcoin_testnet_address_generator

Image: BitAddress

After obtaining public and private keys, use Bitcoin methods to transfer funds between testnet wallets and explore other network capabilities.

Features of a testnet

To understand what is a testnet crypto asset, imagine a functional blockchain network, with a working consensus mechanism and all transaction and smart contract features, but with two distinctions.

  • No real-world value is connected with test tokens, so they can be exchanged without limits.
  • It’s possible to suggest and test blockchain changes to see how they can improve the network functionality and how developers will accept them.

Basically, that’s a testnet crypto meaning: a testing field where users can explore all the blockchain’s opportunities and suggest their changes.

Bitcoin testnet addresses always start with m and n letters. Unlike that, an Ethereum testnet address isn’t visually different from mainnet ones, being a hexadecimal number starting with 0x, similar to all other EVM networks.

Now, we can explore what are testnets in practice and how they can be used.

Bitcoin testnet

It can be used to transfer costs without any commission, being a robust tool for crypto enthusiasts who want to explore the network methods without needing to pay commissions.

As mentioned, the current Bitcoin testnet differs from the mainnet: its addresses begin with m or n, while the mainnet address starts with 1 or 3. Users cannot send funds between these networks, so test BTC can be used only for test purposes and is basically disconnected from all real-world purposes.

Litecoin

Litecoin is very similar to Bitcoin, working on a proof-of-work mechanism. So, let’s see what is Litecoin testnet to understand how users can test transactions and various operations in this network without spending real costs.

Like Bitcoin, Litecoin testnet wallet addresses start with m or n, while the mainnet Litecoin address begins with either L or M. While it isn’t a programmable blockchain, its testnet is instrumental in exploring its functionality, methods, and transactions.

Ethereum

Since it’s the largest programmable blockchain, understanding what is Ethereum testnet is essential for dApp testing and deployment. That’s where developers can try their methods and probe ideas without additional costs, due to the following reasons.

  • No costs are required to connect dApps to the network and conduct transactions.
  • Unlimited network exploration to understand how it works for various purposes.
  • An opportunity to introduce blockchain upgrades and test them on testnet.

What is a testnet wallet for Ethereum? There are several testnet networks, and Holesky and Sepolia are currently the most used ones. Ropsten, Rinkeby, and Goerli were earlier testnets, which aren’t supported nowadays.

When using an Ethereum wallet, such as MetaMask, it’s possible to select a network, usually in the upper left corner, just above the current balance. Choose a desired testnet in the network list, such as Sepolia, obtain test ether in the faucet, and start Web3 test development and exploration.

Ethereum_Web3_test_networks_timescale

Image: Ethereum Foundation

Testing is crucial before you deploy your app on the market and start scaling it up. Be it a game with NFTs or a community governance tool, it uses ETH coins or tokens, and if they have no real value, it means that a developer won’t lose anything.

What is Sepolia testnet?

Created in 2021, Sepolia is a new and recommended-to-use Ethereum testnet. Its total number of test tokens isn’t limited, and the network design enables quick transactions. Therefore, it’s convenient to test Ethereum dApps before launching their full versions.

Another testnet, Holesky, has a somewhat different purpose: it’s about testing the entire blockchain features. That’s where users can go to explore the protocol itself, its consensus mechanism and infrastructure, and propose changes and upgrades.

Conclusion

Now you can see what is testnet in the crypto industry: a specialized blockchain network used for testing and development purposes. While most blockchains have their testnets, they are the most useful for programmable blockchains, enabling developers to test their applications without any costs or risks. They are also useful for crypto enthusiasts to explore blockchain methods and propose possible upgrades.

Whether you’re a developer or enthusiast, you need a blockchain node to connect with mainnet or testnet and deploy your dApp. Sign up to GetBlock now and obtain shared node access with 40,000 free blockchain requests per day! Scale your subscription as your applications grow, and pay only for what you use.

Vance Wood

Vance Wood

June 20, 2024

7 min read

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