Una testnet network is a almost identical copy of blockchain of a cryptocurrency that has two main objectives:
- Test changes to the protocol of the cryptocurrency Risk free.
- That external developers can integrate the cryptocurrency / protocol into their application, being able to do tests at no cost.
Commercially, before launching a product on the market, it is endlessly tested to certify that it works correctly. The same happens with cryptocurrencies and their protocols. Before implementing new changes in the public blockchain of any cryptocurrency tests are done (tests) to check that everything works correctly.
Characteristics of a testnet
Testnet-like networks use their own cryptocurrency which is a copy of the original chain's asset. Interaction with them has no reflection on public blockchains of the original cryptocurrencies. They are outside the natural blockchain network by placing themselves on a testnet where all code can be tested without affecting the main blockchain.
For these development blockchain, the teams of programmers generate genesis blocks slightly different. With this, a marker is created in the blocks and in the possible generated coins. This prevents them from being added to the operational blockchain (also known as mainnet). As a consequence of this, it is impossible to transfer cryptocurrencies from an active blockchain to a testnet and vice versa. In this way, the developers guarantee the separation of the two blockchain, preventing someone from fraudulently profiting.
Another characteristic of testnets is that the algorithm that regulates the difficulty of mining your coins is capped so that it does not increase. Thus, the cryptocurrency mining A testnet is too easy, nullifying the value of the coins obtained.
Except for these small details and a few more, without importance at this level, the rest of the elements are identical. This is important to be so because it must be ensured that if something works correctly on the Testnet, it also works on the Mainnet (the public blockchain).
A test network (also for users)
The Testnet is responsible for being able to run the updates on the Mainnet without major problems. This is because this process is done first on the Testnet as a mock run. Development teams upload updates to the testnet, where they will use the opportunity to conduct their own analysis. During this process, they seek detect errors in the code or see how the new programming affects the test blockchain.
As you can see, this Test Environment or "sandbox" it is necessary to contain any kind of unforeseen. And it is that with this method the teams responsible for the progress of these projects are aware of the consequences that testing live changes could have. If a blockchain was updated with a Update containing errors, millions could be affected in seconds. And not only that, users would lose confidence in the use of that specific technology.
After finding possible bugs and debugging the code, verified that it is safe and that there are no negative consequences on the test blockchain, these updates could be implemented on the public blockchain. Although just before this happened, they should be previously approved by nodes in the form of democratic voting.