Testnet The test network for Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is software that is constantly evolving and, consequently, needs constant improvement. Like all computer programs, you need a similar platform to test. That is why there is Testnet. Testnet is known as the network of “Bitcoins” that are worthless (their currencies have no value, since undermining them does not carry any considerable cost). This network is identical to that of Bitcoin. It is used for tests of many types. For this reason, when creating a new address, there is the option to use Testnet as a network.

Testnet vs. Mainnet.

Bitcoin is associated with two networks: Mainnet (main network) and Testnet (test network). 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 in Testnet do not start with “1” or “3” as in Bitcoin, but with “m” or “2”.

Being an open source network , Bitcoin can have several clones. With few changes in the code you can create another currency in the same mining paradigm. If they become interesting as in the case that concerns us, they can be useful and reach a value.

This test network, unlike other clones, can be started from the official Bitcoin ( 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 launched, since this test network  is the basis when observing the results of these improvements.

What is  Testnet2 y Testnet3?

In the first version, the coins began to take value and be exchanged for bitcoins, so it was decided to create Testnet2. Testnet2 had another problem: the complexity of mining was a cost. That´s how Testnet3 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 mining complexity automatically if is necessary.

Eight differences between the 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 is why no Testnet address works in Bitcoin. While Bitcoin uses 0x00 in Testnet 0x6F is used. It is something key so that they can be identified visually.
  • The Testnet network uses a different Genesis block than the main Bitcoin network. The Genesis block is the seed from which the accounting book, the blockchain, begins to be created. Links to the genesis block: here or here. Only by changing the Genesis block a new cryptocurrency starts , then you start a new accounting book.
  • The IsStandard () check written in the Bitcoin code is deactivated in Testnet, which allows a perfect scenario to experiment with transactions and new ideas.
  • At Testnet startup it uses different DNS seeds.
  • The header of the protocol messages is 0x0B110907 instead of 0xF9BEB4D9 that is used in Bitcoin.
  • The Bitcoin program is a node of a P2P network and needs to communicate with other nodes in the network. Normally it uses port 8333 of the computer, but in Testnet mode it uses port 18333 to be able to operate both modes at the same time on the same computer. A port is information entry and exit points that all computers have.
  • The Bitcoin program also allows you to communicate with other programs, for example those that you can create as a developer. 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.

The Cryptocurrencies of the Testnet are worthless.

Many websites give away their currency. It is a network that works just like Bitcoin  for what is considered for beginners and that serves as learning in the handling of Bitcoins. The only visual difference is the change of directions. 


Only the following steps should be followed to learn:  

  1. Download the Bitcoin wallet called Copay, which has support for this test network.
  2. Once opened press “Add new wallet”.
  3. In the new screen click on “Create new wallet”.
  4. The new screen displays the advanced options and press the testnet option to activate it.
  5. Click on the create button.
  6. Once created you can click on the “Receive” button and copy the address that shows you.
  7. You access a Testnet faucet and enter the copied address.
  8. In a few seconds or minutes the coins are received in the purse.
  9. Once they are available, they can be sent to other addresses within the test network.

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