Testnet. The testing network for Bitcoin.
Bitcoin is a software that is constantly evolving and therefore needs constant improvement. Like all software, you need a similar platform to test on. That's why Testnet exists. Testnet is known as the network of "Bitcoins" that are worthless (their coins have no value, since mining them comes at no considerable cost). This network is identical to Bitcoin's. It is used for tests of many types. For this reason, when creating a new address, you give the option to use Testnet as a network.
Testnet vs. Mainnet.
Bitcoin is associated with two networks: Mainnet and Testnet. The Mainnet cryptocurrency is bitcoins and in Testnet the currency used is the same although with its own type of addresses and its own blockchain accounting record. Another difference is that the addresses on Testnet do not start with "1" or "3" as in Bitcoin, but by "m" or "2".
As it is an open source network, Bitcoin can have multiple clones. With few code changes you can create another currency in the same mining paradigm. If they become interesting as if it concerns us, they can be useful and achieve value.
This network of tests unlike other clones, can be booted from the official Bitcoin Core program. That is, it is integrated into the main network. The relationship between the two networks is vital as soon as an update or improvement is released, as this test network is the basis for observing the results of those improvements.
What is Testnet2 and Testnet3?
In the first version, currencies began to take value and exchange for bitcoins so it was decided to create Testnet2. Testnet2 had another problem: the complexity of mining was a cost. That's how Testnet3 was born. The Testnet network is the third "version" of the network, in fact it is also known as Testnet3. It has the ability to restart the complexity of mining automatically if necessary.
Eight key differences between Test and Main networks.
- Testnet uses a different value in the ADDRESSVERSION parameter. This parameter is the one that ends up creating different addresses and that's why no Testnet address works in Bitcoin. While Bitcoin uses 0x00 on Testnet 0x6F is used. It's a key thing for them to be visually identified.
- The Testnet network uses a different Genesis block than the main Bitcoin network. The Genesis block is the seed from which the ledger, the blockchain, begins to be created. Links to the genesis block: here or here. Only by changing the Genesis block does you start a new cryptocurrency, as you start a new ledger.
- The IsStandard() check written in the Bitcoin code is disabled on Testnet, allowing a perfect scenario to experiment with transactions and new ideas.
- At Testnet boot it uses different DNS seeds.
- The header of the protocol messages is 0x0B110907 instead of 0xF9BEB4D9 which is used in Bitcoin.
- The Bitcoin program is a node in a P2P network and needs to communicate with other nodes in the network. You typically use port 8333 on your computer, but in Testnet mode you use port 18333 to operate both modes at the same time on the same computer. A port is an entry and exit point for information that all computers have.
- The Bitcoin program also allows you to communicate with other programs, for example those that as a developer you can create your. This is the port used for the RPC protocol. Testnet uses 18332 while Bitcoin uses 8332.
- If a block has not been found in 20 minutes, the difficulty restarts automatically.
Testnet Cryptocurrencies are worthless.
Many websites give away their currency. It is a network that works just like Bitcoin so it is considered for beginners and that serves as a learning in the management of Bitcoins. The only visual difference is the change of addresses.
Just follow these steps to learn:
- Download the Bitcoin wallet called Copay, which has support for this testing network.
- Once opened, press "Add new wallet".
- On the new screen you click on "Create new wallet".
- The new screen displays the advanced options and presses the testnet option to activate it.
- Presses the Create button.
- Once created you can click on the "Receive" button and copy the address it shows you.
- You access some Testnet faucet and enter the copied address.
- In a few seconds or minutes the coins are received in the wallet.
- Once they are in, they can be sent to other addresses within the test network.
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