Most blockchain platforms have mainly two networks which are for Testnet and Mainnet stages. Both have their own significance as to why it should be performed. Let’s see what the real function of Testnet and Mainnet is towards the development of a blockchain platform.

A Testnet known as Test Network, is an experimental network where developers will use it to test, create, or modify functionalities and monitor the blockchain network performance.  Testnets can show a sort of working prototype for blockchain projects and it is used by developers for testing. Through Testnet, developers are able to fix bugs and trace other kinds of network failures. The test files are used to ensure the accurate comparison between test runs.

This sandbox environment enables the developers to take risks, experiment, and find out the best possible model, a stable version, to be implemented in the Mainnet network. There are also coins used in the testnet network, but they are not taken into account in the general issue because they are different from real coins and have no value. This allows application developers or testers to experiment without using the real crypto/token and no need to worry about core network security. All these testing activities happen at scale in a controlled manner.

Contrary with Testnet, Mainnet is the main network wherein actual transactions take place on a blockchain distributed ledger. A Mainnet known as Main Network, is the final, most stable, and fully functional version of the blockchain. Launching of Mainnet is the sign of making the blockchain platform open to the public.

Mainnet has a greater integral aspect compared to Testnet as it was valuing a cryptocurrency in real-world implementation. The mainnet carries out the functionality of executing real transactions within the network which is stored on the blockchain and open for the public to use. In Mainnet, the native cryptocurrency is possessing real economic value. Users can see an increased number of validators who are incentivized by tokens with real value. All transactions occur live on the mainnet and will be recorded on the distributed ledger.

What is the Difference Between a Testnet and a Mainnet?

Purpose: The testnet is the testing “Sandbox”, whereas the mainnet is the released functional blockchain.

Cost of Operations: In the testnet, the tokens do not hold any value. The cost of operations on the mainnet is higher. Every operation performed on the blockchain requires a fee in the form of tokens that hold a certain value. Examples of these operations include transfers of value, staking rewards, or deployments of Smart Contracts.

Network ID: The network ID helps developers identify the network. Mainnets and testnets have different Network IDs. For example, the Ethereum mainnet network ID is 1, while the other most commonly used testnets have network IDs of 3, 4, and 42 for Ropsten, Rinkeby, and Kovan, respectively.

Genesis Block: A genesis block is the first block of every blockchain. Both testnets and mainnets have their own independent genesis blocks.

Nodes: A testnet has fewer nodes than a mainnet.

Transaction Frequency: Transaction frequency is low for a testnet.

To conclude, Testnet is the network used before launching the real project to test all the functionality which are very helpful in ensuring that Mainnet deployments happen faster. While the main network is updated after thorough testing, so as not to violate the security of the product. Projects that go through Testnet and Mainnet stages are always considered more stable. It gives users the confidence that the project has put lots of effort and resources into the blockchain. This is because users believe that the Mainnet that was officially open to the public has gone through rigorous evaluation processes before launching.

References:

1. https://www.altcoinbuzz.io/bitcoin-and-crypto-guide/crypto-mainnet-vs-testnet/

2.  https://docs.ltonetwork.com/running-a-node/public-node/installation-guide/lto_mainnet

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