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Testnet – Definition & Importance

Updated on :  

08 min read.

Adding new tools or products to a live blockchain can be full of risks. There can be massive consequences unless rigorous testing occurs under several scenarios first. Even worse, vulnerabilities can arise, which the hackers can again exploit, leading to investors losing money.

What is a testnet?

A testnet refers to a test blockchain network which works to run and test blockchain projects or blockchains before they are ready for a launch. It is a simple method for developers and programmers to develop, modify, and test their project’s functionalities and monitor its performance before providing access to the public. Here, developers can troubleshoot issues and fix bugs.

Multiple tests can repeatedly run in a testnet environment. Also, performance comparison and checking consistency are possible. Testnets run independently to the mainnet, allowing for a blockchain project’s full testing without interfering with any transaction on the mainnet. This sandbox model enables developers to experiment, take risks, and develop the best possible model to launch.

Importance of a testnet

Running checks on a system is of high importance before the launch. This is even more essential for a financial system. But the developer cannot run such checks on the mainnet. Below are the reasons for that and how testnet is helpful here.

Running tests on a mainnet: an expensive affair

  • There is a need to pay blockchain fees for all transactions and changes every time a project launches. All of these are repeated multiple times during a trial phase. This implies that high fees will be incurred to test a project and explore its possible options efficiently.
  • During a trial phase, if an issue occurs on the mainnet, it can disrupt the whole network, assets, and transactions of its users. This further means that users can lose their money. All this can prove to be highly expensive, both for developers and the reputation of crypto overall.

Compatibility issue

Instead of using anything of real value, a testnet uses “fake money” in the form of valueless tokens.

There is an issue of compatibility of testnet coins and mainnets, implying that new methods or coins must be minted, leading to a much more complex, costly, and longer procedure.

New projects must be first tested on an independent blockchain with its genesis block. This will ensure that those operating in the crypto market can stay separate from “trial and error” operations. Also, developers can freely test every aspect of the blockchain before its launch.

Wrapping it up

In a nutshell, a testnet is responsible for being able to run updates on the mainnet without any major issues. And that is because the process is first done as a mock run on the testnet. Indeed, a testnet is highly crucial for any blockchain network or project to come into existence.