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In the minds of blockchain developers: what is a Testnet?

7 min reading

What is a Testnet? How is it related to Blockchain and what effects are it going to have on the crypto world now? Lets find out.


 Blockchain test networks are an interesting topic because they come in many shapes and sizes. For this post, the CEO of the Koinos Group (developer of Koinos) is going to uncover test networks and perhaps provide an idea of why they seem to have an impact on prices.

The most obvious starting point is the name: testnet. The purpose of the test network is to test the network. There are two "flavors" of testnet at a very high level:

  • The first is a test network that starts before the main network, and the second is a test network that starts after the main network is operational. The functions they perform are similar, but the context in which they are published has a dramatic impact on the perception and impact of a release.

I'll start with the second type of test network because that's the easier context in some ways. When you talk about existing networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum, test networks serve two main functions. First, it is a live environment where developers can test their decentralized applications. Every good developer knows that there's no such thing as perfect code, so test networks provide developers with an environment very similar to the main chain (like Ethereum) where they can effectively test their code without risk. It is expected that things done on the test network will break and the tokens used will be useless.

As such, a test network is an environment that allows decentralized application (DApp) developers to increase the value of their applications (i.e. to make their applications better) precisely because full functionality or asset accumulation is not expected. On the one hand, the value of the test network is initiated from its usefulness. But the test network is bilateral, which brings us to the second feature, which serves the test network, and this feature does not benefit DApp developers, but platform developers (in our case blockchain developers). One thing that strikes me from my unique point of view is how often DApp developers come into contact with blockchain developers. Usually, the people who write smart contracts are not blockchain developers, and blockchain developers usually spend very little time writing smart contracts.

Ironically, Koinos puts a big key into this distinction because its entire system is implemented as a smart contract! Since Koinos smart contracts are renewable, it means that any functionality can be added to the blockchain without a hard fork, but it also means that blockchain developers (as members of the Koinos group) use the same chain of tools and tools and develop that developers use to build their DApps. . However, this is a completely unique feature to Koinos, so we can leave it aside for this discussion.

In every other blockchain, the blockchain developers have to develop updates in whatever programming language the blockchain is written in (C++, Rust, Haskell, etc.), and they are working on a very large and complicated system called a “monolithic architecture.” Within monolithic architectures, changing any part of the system can impact any other part of the system, so the risk of making changes is that much higher.

Blockchain developers also need a live environment with low stakes that they can use to test out their changes and see what breaks. Like application developers, they want this environment to be as close to the real network as possible, which means that they want their code to interact with code that application developers will be running as well.

It shows the two-sided aspect of the test network. They allow app developers and platform developers to interact with each other and safely test their code in the tightest of spaces, but at very small stakes. This allows both groups to improve their products and make them more valuable to their consumers.

We can now begin to understand why the test network appears to have such an impact on token prices. Assuming that price is a function of value and the test network helps developers add value to their products, an impact on prices can be expected. The problem is that this correlation has produced some undesirable results. Projects often start a useless "test network" for developers just to increase the price of tokens. Unfortunately, many people will look at the news on the test network and only assume that something valuable has already been published and the promotion will have the desired effect on the price.

So far, I've focused on the usability of test networks in the context of existing blockchains, which means they create a safe space for app developers to test their apps and for blockchain developers to test improvements on major platforms. This will help you understand another important context in which the test network runs, namely before the core network starts. Again, testing is the main goal, but the focus is more on the system itself as it has never been operational before. Of course, because it's new, this app won't run any apps. Now the situation is a bit one-sided. The majority of people working with codebases will become blockchain developers, and the goal is to get the platform to where developers really want to build it.

The first requirement for developers is that the platform proves to be secure enough, and this should be the main guideline behind the specific testing that is carried out. Assuming developers are confident that the platform is secure enough, then they need to be trained on how to use the platform. In other words, a test network should be seen as an educational tool that allows developers to gain a deeper understanding of how to use the platform while helping to test network security.

In the end, as they test the network and learn to use it, they are sure to find places where the platform can be improved - important libraries or important documentation may be needed to help them understand the system. This information is invaluable feedback that platform developers need to use to improve the platform before they complete the implementation of the core network.

Computer networks, whether we realize it or not, have become an essential part of our lives and are becoming increasingly important. The test network is an important step in introducing new and innovative computer networks that can add more value to our lives. Hopefully, through a deeper understanding of the nuances of test networks and the important contexts in which they are introduced, you are better equipped to evaluate specific editions of test networks and to assess whether they were designed and introduced for the right reasons.


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