A testnet is a test blockchain network used as a production-like, staging/sandbox environment, for developing and testing new features and technologies before they are rolled out to the mainnet (i.e. the actual blockchain network). It is completely separate and independent of the mainnet, which means that:
- It does not affect real funds or the mainnet;
- It can be used to analyze data on a smaller scale as opposed to doing so on the mainnet (which is much larger);
- It can be used to test smart contracts, apps, network performance, security, and other parameters on the blockchain, prior to their release to the mainnet;
- It can be used to provide early access to certain features prior to release.
A testnet helps developers to create better value for their projects by allowing them a space to:
- Trial and test functionalities of their project without interfering with, or affecting the transactions on the mainnet;
- Debug, catch and fix issues and bugs early-on;
- Analyze data and monitor performance on a smaller scale to gain insight on potential bottlenecks;
- Conduct performance testing to validate consistency and security of the project;
- Have room for experimentation and risk-taking;
- Perform a safer rollout to the mainnet.
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