A Detailed Guide on Mainnet and Testnet

If your a crypto or blockchain follower, you could have come across terms like “mainnet”, “mainnet swap” or “testnet”. Might be you have wondered what those terms mean, so let me tell you, actually those are common technical terms.

Let’s look at these terms and understand what they are and what is the importance of Mainnet and Testnet.

What is Mainnet?

Mainnet(main network) is nothing but the main blockchain where actual transactions take place in the distributed ledger and the native cryptocurrencies hold real economic value.

Mainnet is where the execution of real transactions takes place within the network. It is stored on the blockchain and is called the ‘final product’ that is open for the public to use.

Each transaction executed on the blockchain will attract fees which are to be paid by participants to miners to validate the transactions and prevent network spamming. Miners are rewarded with native coins from the protocol and from the transaction fees paid by the participants.

Mainnet Swap

When a project is going to open for public, their team will offer tokens on other blockchains to raise funds. When the project own blockchain is developed, they will migrate the existing tokens from other blockchains to the project’s own blockchain. This full process is known as ‘mainnet swap’ or ‘token swap’.

Because it is not compatible for both mainnet coins and existing coins to function on different blockchains.

The old coins on another blockchain are disposed and new coins are issued on the new project’s native blockchain.

How mainnet swap is done?

  • Users are expected to keep their coin through the project’s developers, who will approve these coins through a supported digital wallet. When the mainnet swap is scheduled, the old tokens will be burned and replaced with new official coins in the same wallet.
  • Once the Mainnet swap date is announced, users are invited to deposit their coins in the cryptocurrency exchange that offers support to the swapping process.  The exchange at the scheduled date will handle the checking, accrediting and exchanging of the older coin for the newer ones.

Mainnet a viable Proof

A Mainnet is a proof that the project has developed a blockchain where actual transactions take place. A live mainnet put the functionalities of the blockchain to the test, as the user can participate in the network and any failure could affect the workings of the blockchain.

Hence, launching the mainnet will cost a lot of resources to ensure that everything is in condition. Moreover, a mainnet acts as a working proof that the project is executing their work well.

Where to invest? Projects with mainnet or without mainnet?

A project with a mainnet has more reliability and trust than a project without one. As mainnet is an actual and functioning protocol, all transactions will be live and users transact with one another with the native coins of the blockchain.

The existence of mainnet creates a live ecosystem of participants where real interactions and transactions occur with full transparency.

A project without mainnet is like ‘theoretical’ with no product for participants to test out. This is really important to understand when evaluating an ICO project which is trying to raise money; because it is difficult to evaluate projects without a mainnet or a testnet.

Also, there are some successful projects without a mainnet. Yet, before investing in a new project, you must be sure that the project is efficient of building a mainnet and can fulfill all the promises made in their white paper.

What is a Testnet?

The testnet or test network is a replica i.e sandbox environment of the main blockchain, with the same functionalities. The only difference is that transactions on the testnet are fake and the coins in the testnet do not possess any real value.

In the testnet environment, application developers and testers can carry out all type of tests to check functionalities of the (original) blockchain mentioned in the white papers without damaging the main blockchain.

Since the test transactions are fake, there will be no transaction costs and deployment costs upon the developers. To be precise, activities run on the testnet serves as a copy of how the protocol would function on the mainnet.

Testnet Functions

The Blockchain technology is developing day by day, still, there is a lot of amount of development and testing is needed to offer more productivity. As an example, one of the main issues of blockchain is scalability. Rigorous research and development are being undertaken by a wide range of projects to enhance a blockchain’s capability of processing more transactions.

Continuously blockchain technology is updated to enhance its capacity to process more transactions. A lot of testing on smart contract functionality, the mining process, and the transactions are done.

Here the testnet environment serves as a platform to check how the updates will work on original mainnet under real-world conditions.

A testnet provides testers and application developers to test the features and functions of the original blockchain protocol in a different environment, without disturbing the main blockchain.

Moreover, native coins are required to execute smart contract transactions. But, testnet provide a free testing platform for developers who want to test out functionalities without spending real currencies. Otherwise, it would be extremely expensive for developers to run experiments on the mainnet, as they would need to buy real-value coins.

What makes a mainnet and testnet different

Ethereum’s most popular testnet Ropsten is used by developers to create their own dApps on the Ethereum blockchain. Using Ropsten network, DApp developers can experiment on the functionalities on the dApp. Also, avoid using valuable ETH that is needed for transaction fees and smart contract deployment.

Once testing is complete they can deploy dapps on main Ethereum network.

  • There will be a network ID for each network to represent identity, same as your ID card which represents your identity. When a new node joins the actual Ethereum blockchain, they will join the ‘mainnet’ which will have a network ID of 1. Else, if they want to join the testnet, then they can join the Ropsten testnet which has a network ID of 3.
  • The mainnet and tesnet are different networks, so both have a different genesis block. The genesis block refers to the very first block in the blockchain, which means the starting point. However, the content of the genesis block can be similar.

It is necessary to have both mainnet and testnet for a blockchain project. This gives it more advantage and trust. I hope you have understood the difference between mainnet and testnet.

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Nidhi Kolhapur

Nidhi is a Certified Digital Marketing Executive and Passionate crypto Journalist covering the world of alternative currencies. She shares the latest and trending news on Cryptocurrency and Blockchain.

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